According to Tampa Bay Online:
The pastor of Without Walls International Church confirmed Sunday that a $14 million deal is on the table to sell the church site near Raymond James Stadium.
Randy White said there are “definitely no plans” to close Without Walls, once one of the largest independent evangelical churches in the country and now recovering from debt and scandal.
In fact, a search committee began looking for a new site last week in anticipation of the sale going through.
“We (are) looking for a venue within a 3-mile radius,” he said.
Still, he said, it’s too early to call it a done deal.
“The bank has to accept it. The church board has to approve it. And the buyers have to get permitting,” said White, who leads the nondenominational congregation. “But if this all goes through, it would be an incredible situation for us.”
He said the church owes about $10 million to the California-based Evangelical Christian Credit Union for its two buildings on East Columbus Drive and North Grady Avenue. One houses the sanctuary and the other is the former administrative building.
A $4.4 million contract is already in place for the administrative building and is expected to close in February. The buyers, The Richmond Group of Florida, recently made the offer for the second building, bringing the total purchase price to $14 million.
The developer has applied to rezone about 11 acres to build 557 upscale apartments on the site. Michael Horner, who represents both Without Walls and The Richmond Group, told The Tampa Tribune last week that part of the project has already been approved by the city.
Commercial development with restaurants and shops is slated for about 2.5 acres on the north portion of the site. Horner said an application for that phase of the project likely will be filed “within 30 days or so.”
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