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OPINION

Sale of Tenn. Baptist building called off

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (BP) -- Plans to sell the Tennessee Baptist Convention building and surrounding property in Brentwood, Tenn., have failed, the convention's executive director said.
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The convention's Executive Board was notified Feb. 14 that Franklin Land Associates declined to close on the sale, Randy Davis said. The next day, Davis learned that the expected buyer had withdrawn a request for a zoning change regarding the property.

Earlier in February, a group called Preserve Brentwood launched an effort opposing the construction of a 900,000 square-foot development on the Baptist Center site.

The Executive Board voted last May to accept a $9 million offer for the Baptist Center from Franklin Land Associates. The Executive Board has been headquartered on the property located at 5001 Maryland Way since 1969.

Davis commended the convention's staff in a letter.

"You have worked hard to prepare for the possible move," Davis wrote. "Many of us were very confident that the sale was going to happen. Nonetheless, we believe that God is an on-time God and has a better plan for the Tennessee Baptist Convention as we move forward."

The convention, Davis said, "will continue to be motivated by the principle of wise stewardship as we make decisions concerning this incredible asset called the Baptist Center."

The planning and work that has occurred since the announcement of the proposed sale has not been in vain, Davis said.

"It has forced us to have discussions about how we will be doing our work in the future," he said.

"These discussions have needed to happen for a long time. We will capitalize on the hard, good, strategic work that you have been involved in," Davis told employees.

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Davis is looking forward to God's perfect will being accomplished, he said.

"We believe in a short period of time the value of our property will only rise with all the development going on around us. As future opportunities come, we will explore all such options. Until that time we will make use of all that God has placed in our hands for Kingdom work."

In a downsizing effort, the convention is trying to sell the two buildings which comprise the Baptist Center (the original structure and the conference center added in 1989) along with 5.25 acres.

Since 1989, the number of full-time employees at the Tennessee Baptist Convention has dropped significantly, and many employees are assigned to the field rather than the Brentwood office. Nearly $1.5 million in capital improvements would have to be made for the offices to remain in the present location, board members were told last May.

Lonnie Wilkey is editor of the Baptist & Reflector newspaper in Tennessee, online at

tnbaptist.org/BRNews.

Copyright (c) 2013 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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