By Alexis Zotos
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – Pastor Jonathan Davis grew up in Grace Baptist Church. He followed in his father’s footsteps and now leads the church congregation located in the shadow of the Dome in downtown St. Louis.
But the church has faced many challenges in its 60 years. It was originally located in Pruitt-Igoe, then moved to a location on Cass Avenue. They were forced out of there in 2016 when the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency chose the North St. Louis site for its new campus.
“We had to be moved a few times, we had to make room for NGA,” Pastor Davis said.
They moved into a church located at 7th and Cole. It was an old Catholic church. But now their lease has expired and they have to move again, this time to make way for other developments.
The property is owned by Paul McKee and Northside Regeneration LLC. It’s in what’s called the Bottleworks neighborhood. This is an area of development that has been staggering for years. The city of St. Louis approved a plan ten years ago to move this development forward, but it still stands empty and is an eyesore to anyone heading downtown. News 4 has contacted Northside Regeneration for information on the future of the site. The alderman for the area north of downtown says he doesn’t know the plan.
But Davis says he’s not afraid to move. He just wants to take the church with them.
“They said you can have whatever you want out of the building. I said can we have the building? And they said you could have the building,” he explained.
So that’s their plan. One company says it’s doable but will cost between $750,000 and $1 million. They already have land on North Grand in the Jeff Vanderlou neighborhood where he can go. There’s a petition to St. Louis executives to make that happen and they’re hoping they can get funding from some of the Rams’ settlement money.
A spokesperson for the city of St. Louis said no decision has yet been made on how those settlement funds will be allocated.
Davis says they have until the end of the year.
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