VOL. 123 | NO. 102 | Friday, May 23, 2008
Church of Scientology Sold, Will Be Converted to Home
By Eric Smith
The Midtown property housing the Church of Scientology Mission of Memphis at 1440 Central Ave. has sold for $635,487 to David Slaughter, the church’s trustee or “mission holder,” and Bennetta Slaughter, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.
The sale closed Tuesday, and Slaughter said he will renovate the 10,500-square-foot building into a residence. He said he will live in the home temporarily and eventually put it on the market once the renovations are complete.
Meanwhile, the church will stay in Memphis, but it has found another location and will move soon, Slaughter said. He wouldn’t comment on the new site, but he did confirm that the church is moving “east,” as detailed in a Feb. 3, 2006, story in The Daily News.
He said details on the Church of Scientology’s plans for Memphis are coming.
“We’ll be making an announcement in a few days,” Slaughter said when reached by phone Thursday, adding that the church is not currently meeting at the Central Avenue property.
The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2008 appraisal of the building is $440,500. It sits on 1.14 acres and is zoned for religious use. The building was built in the early 1900s and served as a private residence for about 30 years. Then it was home to St. James Episcopal Church for roughly 50 years after that.
The Church of Scientology Mission of Memphis bought the building in June 1997 for $475,000, opening its doors later that fall. The building has 7,500 square feet on the top two floors, plus a 3,000-square-foot renovated basement.
Slaughter said the home needs to have regular bathrooms put back in, and that he’s started doing “minor, deferred maintenance stuff,” but after that he wouldn’t disclose other details about the renovations.
“We haven’t really decided what we’re going to do yet,” he said. “It’s kind of early for me to give a full description because we’re still investigating what we’re going to do, how we’re going to do it and how long it’s going to take. We’re still in the planning stages and under design.”
In conjunction with the latest sale, Slaughter assumed a Jan. 20, 2006, deed of trust on the property for $550,000 through Slaughter Enterprises LLC. Slaughter himself signed as the managing member for that entity.