Second Baptist planning to repurpose York Street shopping center for new home
A shopping center on York Street where a Bi-Lo grocery store used to be located is the future home of Second Baptist Church.
Second Baptist purchased the 59,034-square-foot complex, which is behind McDonald’s, and its 11.74 acres of land for $1,627,500 in January, according to Aiken County property records.
The seller was LB-UBS 2007 C6 North Aiken Station LLC of Miami, Florida.
“We want to do big things for God, and expand our opportunities to serve our community better,” said Second Baptist’s senior pastor, Doug Slaughter.
Plans call for repurposing the shopping center so that Second Baptist’s sanctuary and other facilities can be located there.
“We are going to create an event space that we will make available to the community,” Slaughter said. “We’re also going to make a center for children and teens. It will have a learning lab, an indoor recreation area and space that people can use for birthday parties and things like that.”
In addition, Slaughter said, there will be “a community space for adults where they can come in, relax, have a cup of coffee and connect with others.”
Prior to the shopping center’s acquisition, Second Baptist was going to construct a new church on the corner of York Street and Columbia Avenue.
But Second Baptist’s leaders decided that the shopping center was a better option.
“It was a godsend; it really was a godsend,” Slaughter said. “It allows us to do everything we couldn’t do because of construction costs. It’s a miracle for us; it really is. The vision for our new facility to be able to serve people from the cradle to the grave.”
Second Baptist’s church is currently at 425 Hampton Avenue.
“There’s a real desire for growth, economic development and housing development in North Aiken,” Slaughter said. “I think this (the new church) is going to be part of that.”
During the repurposing process, commercial space will remain available “for a little while,” at the shopping center, Slaughter said.