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First Baptist Plans Lawsuit Opposing Landmark Designation For Building It Wants To Demolish

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Jacksonville Daily Record
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First Baptist Church wants to tear down this 93-year-old, six-story structure at 125 W. Duval St. to make way for a new welcome center.

A Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission staff report could lead to a local landmark designation for a First Baptist Church building Downtown and halt its demolition.

Church leaders say the move would derail plans to consolidate its 13.7-acre Downtown campus to a single city block, according to WJCT News partner the Jacksonville Daily Record.

First Baptist Senior Pastor Heath Lambert said the church intends to file a lawsuit and challenge the landmark status if approved by City Council.

The report issued Feb. 21 says the 93-year-old, six-story structure at 125 W. Duval St. may meet six of the seven criteria used by the commission to determine landmark status.

First Baptist wants to demolish the building to make way for a welcome center that would serve as a connective space and the primary entrance for the historic 182,000-square foot-Hobson Auditorium, the church administration building and the Ruth Lindsay Auditorium.

It's part of a $30-plus million church project to renovate and redevelop the 1.53-acres into “The Hobson Block.”

An expanded version of this story is at JaxDailyRecord.