Historic downtown Phoenix church being transformed into entertainment venue
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — The First Baptist Church, off Monroe Street and Third Avenue in downtown Phoenix, is getting a much-needed face-lift. The church was built in 1929 and attracted a wide range of parishioners from across the Valley. But everything changed in 1984 when a massive fire destroyed the roof and caused widespread damage.
Over the years, there have been several attempts to repurpose the property, but the plans fizzled out until now. Longtime Arizona politician and community advocate Terry Goddard gave Arizona’s Family a tour of the church property and the ongoing construction.
Goddard was instrumental in saving the historic building from demolition 30 years ago and has spent decades trying to redevelop the church. “My commitment, and the nonprofit’s commitment, was to take a great building that was part of Phoenix’s past and bring it back to useful life,” said Goddard.
The iconic church is being transformed into an event and entertainment venue that will include restaurants, bars and an outdoor space for weddings and other events. Millions of dollars have already been spent installing steel beams to secure the 93-year-old building.
The church’s steeple and original walls have remained intact, along with many of the windows. “We hope this will be an energized space that people can come enjoy themselves, which they will be able to appreciate the history of Phoenix, something we often overlook or bulldoze away,” said Goddard. “This is just a good reminder of an older, more gentle, and frankly more dignified past that our community had.”
Developers are hoping to get Monroe Street Abbey open by next spring. They are still seeking out tenants. For more details, click/tap here.
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