Texas Baptists sign lease for new Dallas office space


Texas Baptists executives signed a lease agreement on December 29, 2014, for new office space in Dallas approximately eight miles north of its current building location.

More than two years ago, Baylor University approached Texas Baptists executives in regards to purchasing the Baptist Building on 333 N. Washington Ave. in Dallas for its Louise Herrington School of Nursing.

On May 20, 2014, executives approved the sale of the building and on January 22, 2015, the sale was finalized. Baylor University is paying $8 million in cash and is financing $5 million with Texas Baptists totalling to $13 million. In addition, there is non-cash compensation for four Texas Baptists Annual Meetings in Waco, the acquisition of a building for the Historical Collection, moving the Historical Collection and digitizing important materials from the collection.

Moving forward, Texas Baptists executives have signed a lease for two floors of an office space located at US-75 and Walnut Hill in Dallas near Presbyterian Hospital.

"We wanted good visibility and easy accessibility," said Jill Larsen, treasurer/CFO for Texas Baptists, about the reason behind choosing that location. "This one had the most conducive space for us and a favorable lease term and negotiation process."

The lease agreement is for 91 months, which includes some free months. Larsen said there is an option to terminate the lease after 66 months.

The majority of the employees who currently office in the Baptist Building will move to the new building. Exceptions to this are the Christian Life Commission, which relocated to Austin last fall; Historical Collection, which will relocate to Waco prior to the Dallas office move; and a small number of employees in the warehouse, which will be housed at a location not yet determined.

"With the rapid change occurring in Texas we feel that leasing space and this move gives us the opportunity to address and adapt to that ongoing change," Larsen said.

The new building will be adjacent to the DART rail system, which executives believe will be highly beneficial for many employees. Larsen also noted that Texas Baptists received a generous tenant improvement allowance to customize the space to fit needs of the convention staff.

The convention expects to begin the process of relocation in August or early September of this year.

"We are looking forward to the opportunities for increased ministry impact alongside our affiliated churches," said Dr. David Hardage, Texas Baptists executive director, when the building first sold. "Ultimately, this is an opportunity to improve relationships, put ministering to people first and add collaborative ministries to reach the state. It's more than dollars and cents – it's about flesh, blood and souls."
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