By Bob Allen
The Tennessee Baptist Convention will move its headquarters from Brentwood, Tenn., to a 600-acre mixed-use development adjacent to Interstate 65 in south Franklin in 2017.
The TBC executive board signed closing documents Oct. 26 for 2.3 acres in the Berry Farms business development just north of State Route 840. The Nashville Tennessean reported the purchase price as roughly $1.15 million.
Construction of the 32,000-square-foot building, less than half the size of the 88,000-square-foot building constructed in Brentwood in 1969, is scheduled to begin in March and be completed in a year.
About 60 Tennessee Baptist Convention executive board employees have been working out of temporary space at LifePoint Health’s Hospital Support Center in Brentwood since the state convention’s 48-year home at Maryland Way and Franklin Road in Brentwood was sold in 2013 for approximately $8.75 million dollars.
Randy Davis, executive director of the 3,000-church affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention, said he expects the construction of the new property to be completed debt free.
“This is a momentous day in the life of Tennessee Baptists and the future of our ministry to those in our state and around the world,” Davis said.
The new Church Support Center will be the second headquarters building to be built by the convention and its sixth home. Before 1969 the convention rented space from Belmont College, now Belmont University. The move to the suburbs was approved after Nashville zoning restrictions prevented building across the street from Belmont.
For more than 50 years Belmont University was affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Those ties ended in 2007 with settlement of a lawsuit over whether trustees had the right to elect their own successors instead of those selected by the convention.
Davis, a former pastor and state convention president elected as executive director in 2010, said the new building site is centrally located and, with property values expected to increase, is a good investment for the future.