Baptist and Reflector
NASHVILLE – First Baptist Church, Nashville, has announced the sale of a portion of the church campus (1.3 acres of its downtown property) to a developer for $20 million. The church will continue to occupy the remaining 6.3 acre site which the church owns on Broadway and Seventh Avenue S.
According to The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville, the sale price equates to about $353 a square foot and is believed to be the highest amount ever paid for development land in the city.
The 1.3 acres at 710 Demonbreun Street once housed the Downtown Ministry Center of First Baptist, said FBC Pastor Frank R. Lewis.
The Downtown Ministry Center housed The Next Door and Christian Woman’s Job Corps of Middle Tennessee. Both entities relocated between 18 and 24 months ago, Lewis said.
Two other attempts to sell the property failed before the eventual sale in late January to White/Peterman Properties Inc., of Merrillville, Ind., and Atlanta-based equity investor Five Start Reality Partners LLC, Lewis reported.
He noted that the church never marketed the property. Each time a previous deal failed to materialize, another offer was forthcoming, Lewis said. “It was a matter of being patient and waiting for the right offer.”
Lewis said the congregation of First Baptist Church entrusted committees to negotiate the sale of the 1.3 acres. “The spiritual maturity of our congregation was evident in this process,” Lewis noted.
Members of First Baptist Church were informed about the sale during services on Sunday, Jan. 31. Lewis told The Tennessean that “we just waited and waited on God’s timing, and that’s what people of faith do.”
Lewis said proceeds from the sale will be used to expand campus facilities.
“We adopted a campus master plan and will reinvest the proceeds of the sale into phase one of that plan which includes new facilities for our children’s ministry programming,” Lewis said, adding that it will include Sunday School space, music and missions education space, and arts and recreation space.
“The church also plans to replace our recreation center in phase one so that our ministries which serve the downtown community’s physical needs can be strengthened.
“In a very real sense our entire church campus expresses our missional intention to make Christ known from the heart of downtown Nashville,” Lewis said.
– Lonnie Wilkey