By Bob Allen
LifeWay Christian Resources has backed out of plans to build a new headquarters on 1.5 acres of downtown riverfront property, the Southern Baptist Convention entity’s president said in a memo to employees Nov. 16.
In July LifeWay agreed to pay $12.7 million for property the Nashville’s Metro Development and Housing Agency owns across the Cumberland River from Nissan Stadium for construction of a new 216,000-square-foot headquarters building. With $4.9 million of tax-increment financing, the out-of-pocket cost totaled less than $8 million.
“The property is a great downtown location and would be an exciting place for our new building, but we have concluded it’s not the best location for LifeWay,” Rainer said in the memo quoted by Baptist Press. “We simply have found other potential downtown properties that are a better fit for LifeWay’s future.”
The Tennessean reported Oct. 7 that LifeWay was exploring the option of remaining on a portion of its nearly 15-acre campus being sold to a consortium of local and national developers for roughly $125 million.
The SBC publishing house founded in 1891 as the Baptist Sunday School Board is reportedly days away from closing the sale of its nine-building campus with more than 1 million square feet of office, warehouse and parking space uptown near the city’s historic rail lines. The neighboring SBC Executive Committee building at 901 Commerce Street is not included in the sale.
Rainer pledged to inform employees as soon as possible where LifeWay intends to build the new headquarters.