Southside Assembly of God breaks ground for new Southpoint church facility

Southside Assembly of God breaks ground for new Southpoint church facility
A rendering of Southside Assembly of God’s new church facility in Southpoint.

A religious fixture in San Marco for nearly 70 years, Southside Assembly of God church will find its home in a new Southpoint facility by the end of next year.

“Our vision is to be the best for the City of Jacksonville and to be a place where families grow in faith,” said Southside Assembly of God Senior Pastor Milton Dykes. “We are not moving away from our people. The new location will be more of a center point for our congregation. Our existing facility needed lots of upgrades and improvements. We found it’s pleasing to the Lord and pleasing to our people to make this change.”

The new Southside Assembly of God Church building will be built on 5.2 acres of land located at 6851 Southpoint Parkway, which the church purchased Aug. 8, 2018 for $1.45 million. A groundbreaking for the new facility was held Dec. 2. The 24,000-square-foot building will include a sanctuary that will seat 450 worshippers, educational facilities, a full gymnasium and a fellowship hall area. Also incorporated in the design will be a large gathering place in the foyer area of the church, said Dykes.

The Southside Assembly of God congregation will continue to worship in its San Marco facility until June 2019, said Dykes. Because there is a good chance construction on the new edifice will not be complete, church members will meet in temporary quarters until the new Southpoint facility is finished. Construction is expected to take 10 to 12 months, Dykes explained noting, “I’ll be happy if we can move in by Christmas.” 

The Assembly of God denomination has been in residence in Jacksonville since the 1920s when its congregation met downtown in buildings on 10th Street, Phelps Street, and Liberty Street. In 1951, the religious group made its home in San Marco at 2118 Kings Ave. Through the years it has built numerous additions onto its original building including an annex and fellowship hall. In the mid-1970s it constructed its present sanctuary on land that formerly housed a Volkswagen dealership.

The Southside Assembly of God congregation had no thought of moving until it was offered a deal by Chance Partners LLC, developers who wanted the 7-acre property to construct San Marco Crossing. The mixed-use development will be located south of San Marco Promenade,  a two-phase infill project currently under construction by Chance Partners, that abuts Philips Highway and is located on land formerly known as Jackson Square.

Southside Assembly of God sold its property to Chance Partners in March 2018 and plans to start construction on its new facility in December 2018. In its contract with the church, Chance Partners allowed the congregation 15 months to relocate because it had not yet purchased any property or had a set of plans in place for a new church home, Dykes said. “It’s been a challenging six months, but we’re ready to make it happen,” he said. 

“To be honest, we’ve given thought to a move such as this for a number of years. We had been approached by multiple developers and after much prayerful thought it seemed that it was time for a new day,” he continued. “Our church has had a rich history, but we believe its best days are ahead.”

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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