JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Board will be asked to approve the sale of its downtown headquarters in Jefferson City and accept a gift of six acres of property just outside of nearby California when it meets hours before the start of MBC annual meeting Oct. 29 in Osage Beach.
If the motion to accept the six acres of property is approved by the board, the convention will build a new headquarters building on the land, whether or not the motion to sell the current headquarters is approved.
The recommendations are coming from an MBC sale and relocation committee and have been endorsed by the Executive Board’s Administrative Committee.
Specifically, the first recommendation calls for acceptance of a contract for sale of the current offices from the Gardner Group, Inc., of Springfield at a maximum price of $1.7 million.
The second asks for acceptance of the six acres of property donated by Kenny Vaughn of Vaughn Construction Company with the understanding that “the Convention headquarters will be moved to the new location as soon as possible.”
The land is located on Highway 50 at its intersection with Windmill Ridge Drive, on the eastern outskirts of California, and would be part of a larger development that would include both commercial and residential construction.
The recommendations need only the approval of the Executive Board and do not require a vote of messengers to the annual meeting.
In recent years, the convention has been trying to sell the Baptist Building — the former Missouri Hotel, which it acquired and renovated in 1969 — because it has become too difficult for the convention to maintain.
In a message to Executive Board members, interim MBC executive director David Tolliver wrote: “It is our contention that the MBC will spend less money building a new building than we will spend over the next 10 years to remain in the present building.”
Tolliver told the Jefferson City News Tribune that the sale and relocation committee considered several options before making the Moniteau County recommendation to the Executive Board, including two other Jefferson City sites.
“It’s just that we’ve got to get the six acres — that’s all it boils down to,” Tolliver told the newspaper.
The interim executive director has been advised that the donated land is worth between $500,000 and $600,000.
A position paper on the proposal that has been distributed to Executive Board members with the recommendations suggests that the expansion of Highway 50 to four lanes “will put California within 15 minutes of the western side of Jefferson City” and will accelerate further development between the two communities.
In his message to board members, Tolliver explained contingencies related to the sale of the current headquarters:
“We have a sale/purchase contract for a maximum sale price of 1.7 million dollars. However, you should be aware that the final sale price will be determined by the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) and could be as low as 1.3 million.
“We won't know the answer to that question until sometime in 2008 when MHDC makes that determination. Once they decide the value of the building, we may either accept or reject their offer, but we cannot negotiate that offer.
“Also, the contract is contingent upon the purchaser/developer being able to restore the building to its original character. Sometime soon, the purchaser will remove a section of the exterior facade to determine the condition of the original brick exterior and whether or not it can be restored to its original character. If so, the sale will go forward. If not, the sale will be void.”
According to MHDC’s Web site (www.mhdc.com), the Commission “makes loans to non-profit and limited-dividend sponsors of residential housing to provide affordable housing for underserved Missourians.
“The Commission also makes funds available for the purchase of homes for first-time buyers at below-market interest rates,” according to the site. “The funds for mortgage financing are provided through the sale of tax-exempt notes and bonds that the Commission is authorized to issue.”