By Gary Lloyd
Wells Fargo has held off for now on selling the vacant New Covenant Fellowship Church on Pinson Valley Parkway to Pinson’s Solid Rock Church or the city of Center Point.
Wells Fargo Southeast Communications Manager Jay Lawrence released this statement to The Trussville Tribune on Wednesday: “The court appointed receiver is actively marketing the property and no sales contract has been signed.”
Solid Rock Church Pastor Larry Ragland said Wednesday he was told the bank decided not to accept either offer from Solid Rock Church or Center Point.
“We are believing by faith that this is just a pause button being pressed and that somehow God is going to make a way for us,” Ragland said.
A message left for Center Point Mayor Tom Henderson on Wednesday went unreturned.
The Center Point City Council in March voted to enter into negotiations to purchase New Covenant, which is in unincorporated Jefferson County on Pinson Valley Parkway. Henderson said in March he would like the property, which includes softball fields, to become a community center and recreation center.
The New Covenant sanctuary and building cover 69,076 square feet on 18.5 acres
. A “For Sale” sign outside the church lists the price at $2.2 million.
Ragland said his congregation has outgrown the Old Rock School building in Pinson and that the New Covenant Fellowship building is a “perfect” fit for the church, as well as a future daycare and private Christian school.
Henderson said in March that Center Point has been “seriously” looking at the property for four or five months, and that the city’s timing of voting to enter into negotiations coinciding with the city of Pinson and Solid Rock Church working out a contract is a coincidence.
Solid Rock Church has a contract with the city of Pinson, which includes the city purchasing the Old Rock School and nearby Triangle Park for $875,000. That contract is contingent on Solid Rock Church acquiring New Covenant.
Solid Rock Church averages 350 to 400 people each Sunday and would probably have to offer three services and begin renovating the facility to accommodate everyone for Sunday school classes.
The total purchase price of the Old Rock School is $325,000 less than the original asking price of $1.2 million and $15,000 more than Solid Rock Church originally paid for the building and Triangle Park in 2004.
According to www.solidrockchurch.com, parts of the Old Rock School date back to 1921. The school building was closed down in 1998 and was scheduled to be torn down. The website says that Pinson residents saved the building from demolition and in 2003 Solid Rock Church leased the property. The church’s first service in the building was Sept. 26, 2004.
Ragland said he wasn’t exactly sure why Wells Fargo held off on selling New Covenant, though he remains positive.
“We’re not losing hope,” he said. “Our faith is strong.”
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