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Walgreens to replace south Augusta church

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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.

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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.

Comments (35) Add comment
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countyman
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countyman 03/19/13 - 12:27 pm
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Growth in South Augusta!

Where's Dichotomy? The nearly $300 million investment into South Augusta between Rockwood/Starbucks is helping draw commercial developments.

GnipGnop
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GnipGnop 03/19/13 - 12:46 pm
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I have no problem with the church exempt tax status...

Until it comes to making money from real estate. This is not what the tax laws were designed for. Money collected in the offereings to pay for missionary or programs to help the community are one thing. When a church is buying property and selling it to make profit it is a different set of circumstances and they become a business not a church. (not saying that was the sole intent of the purpose of this sale, just a general comment about any church that buys real estate or engages in activities where their main goal is profiting...see Marion Williams church value and selling price for a good example)

InChristLove
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InChristLove 03/19/13 - 01:25 pm
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I understand where you are

I understand where you are coming from GnipGnop and no church should be in the business of buying and selling property. In this case, the property was given to the church by a member many years ago and the only benefit to the church and the community is that there will be a larger facility to worship (we are rump to rump as it is) and some much needed classroom space, a functional kitchen and gym for youth activities. Nothing is changing except now the state will receive property taxes on the 4.5 acres Walgreen has purchased and will develop.

my.voice
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my.voice 03/19/13 - 02:27 pm
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Why is a new Walgreen's

Why is a new Walgreen's getting so much attention?

KSL
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KSL 03/19/13 - 02:34 pm
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I still say churches should

I still say churches should have to pay taxes on capital gains from the sale of real estate. I DID NOT say that they had to, ICL. I know darned well they aren't taxed. Why else would there be so many folks out there who self proclaim that they are ministers and start up churches?

KSL
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KSL 03/19/13 - 02:40 pm
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Oh, don't forget. That member

Oh, don't forget. That member no doubt got a hefty tax break upon the donation of the property to the church.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 03/19/13 - 04:03 pm
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Sorry KSL , didn't mean to

Sorry KSL , didn't mean to imply you didn't know your tax laws or that you said they HAD to. Guess I need to be careful how I phrase my sentences. As for the member who donated the land to the church, not sure if she got a hefty tax break or not.....she went home to be with the Lord several years ago and I believe she received a greater reward that a break from our government.

InChristLove
22485
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InChristLove 03/19/13 - 04:08 pm
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my.voice, don't you know.

my.voice, don't you know. It's not Walgreen that's causing all the fuss. It's the fact that a church sold some property to Walgreen and are now going to build a larger worship center on the rest of the property they own a little further back along Windsor Spring. Some feel the church should pay up to the government and state, but they will shout from the roof tops "Separation of Church and State" when the shoe is on the other foot. Don't you know any time the Lord is increasing His family, people will fuss.

KSL
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KSL 03/19/13 - 04:38 pm
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ICL

I do too.

Google "Horses Don't Eat Moon Pies." It was written by Pat Conroy in the mid 70's. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Conroy He spent 2 weeks in Aiken, complements of USC and a lot of local hospitality. My husband and I met him at a party at our next door neighbors' house. I am relieved he didn't write about me. Even while he was partying, he was interviewing or keenly observing.

I have never forgotten what he said about The Valley and churches. A decade later I was a caseworker in The Valley as well as Aiken. My Valley clients, all elderly, were special to me.

dichotomy
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dichotomy 03/19/13 - 06:39 pm
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countyman.......I'm here.

countyman.......I'm here. Quit yelling already. This Five Guys thingy in South Augusta.....where.......when? You've been talking about it for a year or more but I can't seem to find it. Are they hiding or backpedaling? Or have I just missed it somewhere?

As for getting excited about a Walgreens......heck....we got a new Eckerds at Peach Orchard and Windsor Spring too.......but it didn't hardly last 6 months before it closed up.

I'll get excited when I see a Publix, a decent steak house, a Target...you get the idea.

Besides, by the time the commissioners, the tax man, and the administrator figure out how to make us make up the difference in the revenue for the people who don't pay their property taxes, don't pay enough property taxes to cover the cost of their garbage collection and their street lights, or they figure will NOT pay a separate garbage bill when they have to take it off of the taxes, there will not be enough money left in South Augusta to support these new businesses.

Suburban and rural taxpayers need to start beating on their commissioners NOW. Tell them we will not pay more just because they fail to collect from others or they give them a break on their property valuation so that their taxes are so low it doesn't even pay for their garbage pick-up. Tell them that TAX EQUILIZATION also means PROPERTY VALUATION EQUALIZATION and SERVICE FEE EQUALIZATION too. You cannot have a house in an urban area valued at $25,000 when the same house in a suburban area would be valued at $40,000-$50,000 or more.

scoopdedoop64
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scoopdedoop64 03/19/13 - 08:47 pm
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Best Wishes

I wish the best for Windsor Spring Baptist Church. It is a fine church with a great heritage and has made a tremendous staff. I have preached there many times before they called Pastor Paul and I know he's a good pastor. I am sure they seek God's guidance on any decision they make. As far as the taxes are concerned there are a lot more tax issues to be concerned about than whether churches are paying their fair share. One thing that those who complain about the tax status on the church are not aware of is how much a church gives back to a community. The church takes care of the poor and need in many ways and provides food and counseling. If the state had to pay for the services that a normal church provides in the community it would far out weigh the tax benefit given. Good to see your posts, ICL, give my best to the fine people at Windsor Spring.

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