First Baptist Dallas, one of the largest churches in North Texas, has taken out a demolition permit for a 1940s-era office building

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First Baptist Dallas, one of the largest churches in North Texas, has taken out a demolition permit for a 1940s-era office building it owns across the street from the church’s massive downtown Dallas campus An exact use for the 11-story office building has not been determined, a spokeswoman said. But in general, it will be used to accommodate the explosive growth of a church that now has a membership of 13,000.
“We’re just exploring the options to see what we can do with it, [options] that fall in line with the master plan that we have for growth,” said Ginny Lauren Dowden of the 1946 building that formerly housed local operations for Mutual of Omaha.
First Baptist, known in part for the controversial positions of pastor Robert Jeffress, bought the building for $1.1 million in late 1989 or early 1990, according to news reports and data in the Dallas Central Appraisal District. In a 1989 local news report, the building showed up on a list of the “top 10 property tax delinquents.” That might help explain the price tag. Officials took out the demolition permit in late July, according to constructionmonitor.com. Dallas Demolition, listed as the contractor, could not be reached for comment.
A security employee at the church said Monday the structure, next to a building housing the Baptist Credit Union and the Downtown Pregnancy Center, is not being used for church events. Its exterior doors were locked Monday.
Appraisal district records list the size of the building and basement as 123,270 square feet. The demolition permit listed the size as 120,000 square feet.
In 2013, the church, now 150 years old, unveiled its new $135 million downtown Dallas campus that included a 270,000 square foot building and 500-car parking garage, according to Dallas-based Beck Group, the architectural firm for the project. Over the years, membership has grown from 11 to 13,000. Dowden said that includes young families, which boosts the churches’ need for education space, and for parking. She said a 500-space garage, separate from the 2013 addition, is set to open soon.

Dallas Morning News

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