By Bob Allen
The American Baptist Churches USA has issued a briefing document to assess interest of potential buyers of the denomination’s national offices in metropolitan Philadelphia.
588 Associates, a corporation tasked with potential sale or redevelopment of the American Baptist Churches Mission Center property located at 588 North Gulph Road in King of Prussia, Pa., issued a Request for Expressions of Interest, American Baptist News Service reported June 1, the first step toward the likely sale of two buildings built on nearly 50 acres of property in 1962.
The 588 Associates Real Estate Council — comprised of various denominational entities that share ownership of the building — launched a study in October 2013 to deliver a recommendation regarding the future location of the American Baptist Mission Center and disposition of the King of Prussia property.
The distinctive donut-shaped building, designed as in a circle to symbolize unity between the American Baptist partner organizations, originally housed more than 700 employees. Today 150 executive, administrative and support staff employees utilize the space.
American Baptists have rented out space at the mission headquarters since 1995, at one point sparking controversy with a tenant who was a wholly owned subsidiary of defense contractor Lockheed Martin.
American Baptists previously considered selling the property in 2006. If the building is sold, officials plan to find another location in the Philadelphia area.
An REOI is used in pre-development to both assess whether a market exists for the project and to stimulate interest among potential buyers. Any respondents would then be invited to a second step of submitting a Request for Proposal outlining development plans for the property in detail.
The 588 Associates Real Estate Council is being aided in the process by CSG Urban Partners, a minority-owned real estate development and consulting firm in Washington, D.C.