LifeWay moves forward with possible property sale
Five months ago, LifeWay announced a preliminary study of the feasibility of selling the ministry's 14.5-acre campus in downtown Nashville that would allow the organization to relocate to facilities better suited to LifeWay's future.
"The results of the study confirmed there was interest favorable enough for us to take another step," Thom S. Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay, said.
LifeWay has had conversations with local, regional and national entities about selling the property and accepted offers through mid-January.
"We'll then begin an involved process of studying, comparing and considering any offers we receive," Rainer said.
LifeWay's downtown campus includes nine buildings with more than 1 million square feet of office, warehouse and parking space.
Rainer said reasons to consider selling the property include:
-- Changes over the last 50 years in how LifeWay does ministry have created a need for workspaces that support LifeWay's technologies, strategies and culture now and in the future.
-- LifeWay uses only one-third of its current space.
-- The opportunity to build a new facility designed specifically for the ministries LifeWay provides now and in the future.
If the property does sell, Rainer said his "very strong preference is for the ministry to stay in downtown Nashville." LifeWay is looking at several pieces of property in the downtown area as potential sites to build a new building.
"Most of our current space was designed and built in the middle of the last century and for a much different work environment," Rainer said. "We need a workplace designed to support the technologies, collaboration, and culture needed for today's and tomorrow's successful national and international ministry."
LifeWay hired a local design and consulting firm, Gresham, Smith and Partners (GSP), to help determine the size and type of space LifeWay needs to serve churches more effectively and efficiently.
Rainer said planners estimate construction of a new building would take at least two years.
"This is an exciting time that would help shape LifeWay and our ministries for decades into the future," Rainer said. "We want to be the very best stewards of what the Lord, Southern Baptists, and our churches have entrusted to our care so we might honor Him now and in the future."