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105-year-old congregation

Historic Heights church to be bulldozed as more restaurants and stores move into 19th Street district

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Baptist Temple Church Heights Braun Enterprises
The westernmost building of Baptist Temple Church in the Heights was constructed in 1912.  Photo by Whitney Radley
Baptist Temple Church Heights Braun Enterprises
An alleyway shows the state between the two westernmost buildings.  Photo by Whitney Radley
Baptist Temple Church Heights Braun Enterprises
The newest building at 230 West 20th Street, named for prominent pastor T.C. Jester, will undergo a $3 million renovation.  Photo by Whitney Radley
Baptist Temple Church Heights Braun Enterprises
Photo by Whitney Radley
Baptist Temple Church Heights Braun Enterprises
Baptist Temple Church Heights Braun Enterprises
Baptist Temple Church Heights Braun Enterprises
Baptist Temple Church Heights Braun Enterprises

Houston-based developer Braun Enterprises has recently signed on two historic Heights buildings, with plans to demolish them in favor of new retail and restaurant spaces. (The Leader first reported on this development.)

The two buildings — one built in 1912, the other in the 1940s — are situated on the northwest corner of Rutland and West 20th Street as part of the campus of Baptist Temple Church, a 105-year old congregation that once counted more than 1,500 members. 

That number has dwindled to less than 300 in recent years and, too costly for upkeep, the church's westernmost buildings were abandoned nearly a decade ago. Their current state reflects that — broken windows, boarded-up doors, overgrown landscaping.

Dan Braun, president of Braun Enterprises, told CultureMap via email that the demolition was part of the deal in closing. The developer owns the former Yale Pharmacy and is currently redeveloping Harolds in the Heights for a Torchy's Tacos and Heights General Store, just around the corner from the church. 

Baptist Temple will focus its attention on the newest old building at 230 West 20th Street, named for prominent pastor T.C. Jester, embarking upon a $3 million renovation (facilitated by the sale of the other two) that will include a new 300-seat sanctuary, a new entrance and foyer, new learning and play areas for infants and children and modifications that will bring the building up to code and ADA compliance. 

Demolition and construction is expected to begin this summer. 

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