Motorists driving past the intersection of Windsor Spring and Tobacco roads will soon see demolition of a 35-year-old church to accommodate commercial development.
A Walgreens is expected to open by January where Windsor Spring Baptist Church now stands.
On Jan. 31, the church sold 4.5 of its 14 acres to Tobacco Augusta Development LLC for $2.1 million, which church leaders will put toward building a new facility further back on the remaining land.
“It was a very hard decision,” said the church’s pastor, the Rev. Paul Robertson. “But people prayed over it and felt God was leading us to do this.”
Demolition of the education and administrative buildings begins in mid-April. Modular buildings will be used for Bible study and other purposes, but the sanctuary will remain for nine months to a year while a $2.3 million, 24,000-square-foot building is completed, Robertson said.
A 2-acre parcel fronting Tobacco Road and a 1-acre parcel fronting Windsor Spring Road also will be developed, said Matt DeMeyers, the vice president of development for Tobacco Augusta Development. He said he’s received inquires about the two parcels.
In March 2011, about 86 percent of the church’s congregation voted to sell part of the property. The project was held up for a variety of reasons, including the lack of a sewer system on the property and final approval from the Georgia Department of Transportation because Windsor Spring Road is being widened, Robertson said.
A ceremonial groundbreaking was held Sunday for the new Windsor Spring Baptist, which will have a larger worship area. Work is scheduled to begin in late spring, Robertson said.
The corner has become increasingly commercialized and is now surrounded by a Rite Aid Pharmacy, grocery stores and fast food restaurants.
“I can’t tell you how many developers have walked in my office within the past 10 years and wanted to do something (with it),” Robertson said.