The sale of the Florida Baptist Convention’s Baptist Building in downtown Jacksonville to a local developer for $6.15 million was finalized June 6.
With the completion of the sale, the Convention is sending 51 percent—or $3,136,500—to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Cooperative Program for worldwide mission causes.
Tommy Green, Florida Baptists’ executive director-treasurer, announced the closing to the Convention staff on the day it was completed. He credited the generosity of Florida Baptists in earmarking the money to the SBC for the smooth completion of the sale. “We have been praying for this for months,” he said. “We thank the Lord for His abundant and generous blessings through this transaction.”
The former Baptist Building, located at 1230 Hendricks Ave., just south of downtown Jacksonville, was built in 1959. During the next six decades, parcels of land were purchased until the site encompassed a city block.
In recent years, the property was placed for sale several times, but then was taken off the market for various reasons.
The property was listed again in November 2015 after Green became executive director. A sales contract to purchase the building was received in March 2016.
The State Board of Missions approved the proceeds from the sale to be distributed: 51 percent to the SBC Cooperative Program; $2,300,000 for the purchase of the new Florida Baptist Convention Building on Belfort Oaks Place; $700,000 to endow the John Sullivan Chair of Baptist History at the Baptist College of Florida; and $13,500 to be utilized for ministry in the state of Florida.
The recently sold property is located on a full city block just south of downtown Jacksonville in San Marco. The area situated along the south bank of the St. Johns River has boasted numerous affluent housing and residential developments in recent years.
The property included three permanent buildings, which housed the Convention’s offices, the Florida Baptist Witness, Florida Baptist Financial Services and the Florida Baptist Credit Union until it was merged with First Florida Credit Union.
Earlier this year, the Convention purchased a new building at 6850 Belfort Oaks Place, located near the Interstate 95 and J. Turner Butler Blvd. corridor, to relocate the Convention staff. The Jacksonville-based Convention staff relocated to the new building during the week of Feb. 25-March 3 after the facility was spruced up and lightly renovated.
The Florida Baptist Witness also relocated to the new Convention-owned building. Florida Baptist Financial Services purchased a building in south Jacksonville.
By Barbara Denman, Florida Baptist Convention, June 7, 2017