Local residents took note when a For Sale sign went up at Temple Oaks Baptist Church, at West 34th St. and Oak Forest Drive advertising 79,000 square feet for sale.
Vice President Tommy LeBlanc at Avison Young confirms the flyer’s asking price of $32.50 per square foot. If you’re doing the math, yes, that’s a little over $2.5 million.
Brother Sam Parker with Temple Oaks Baptist said that the church isn’t going anywhere and looks forward to coexisting with its new neighbors, whoever they may be.
“We’d like to help the community, not harm it,” said Parker. “We want something here that will benefit the community.”
Parker said the church made the decision to sell some property to finance a remodeling and renovation project for the remaining property.
“A lot of things need to be repaired and updated,” said Parker, noting that the newest building on the grounds was built in 1972.
Parker said they are selling everything to the east of the large auditorium, including the land where an old playground sits, but are keeping the three buildings on the west side of the campus, including the larger gymnasium.
“We’re keeping the large class buildings but selling some of the smaller classes,” he said. “The school has been shut down for several years.”
Temple Oaks had leased one of the eastern buildings to Iglesia Bautista Mana, an Hispanic church who has services there. Since the meeting times for that church and Temple Oaks are at different times, the two churches have decided to share a building on Sunday mornings after the sale.
MANNA also leases space from Temple Oaks Baptist Church for their food pantry. In addition, they use one of the gymnasiums for a donation collection spot since they are without a home right now. MANNA director Patricia Dornak said that the sale will affect them.
“The food pantry will eventually have to move when it sells,” said Dornak.
LeBlanc said that he’s gotten some interest in the property from area developers. The property flyer says that the spot is “ideal for retail, restaurant, self-storage, or office uses.” He notes that since the church is remaining, there would be restrictions on the sale of alcohol with any new tenant.