Greater Union First Baptist Church is the new owner of the historic, long-vacant and deteriorating Wright Building, which sits cater-cornered from the church at the intersection of West Voorhis and South Clara avenues in DeLand.
The 400-plus-member church was the successful bidder Nov. 15 in an auction conducted by the Volusia County Clerk of Court, to satisfy about $40,000 in unpaid property taxes stretching back several years.
“We will renovate it and bring it back to life,” Greater Union Pastor Troy Bradley said.
The 1920 Wright Building was once the heart of a bustling African-American business district along West Voorhis Avenue.
Former owner James A. Wright told The Beacon earlier this year that his grandfather built the building to house businesses where black residents of DeLand would feel welcome. For example, at the time, Wright said, black people could buy clothing at Downtown DeLand stores, but weren’t allowed to try the clothes on.
Greater Union doesn’t have firm plans for the building, but is considering making it into a home for the church’s Greater Union Life Center, an outreach that helps the community in various ways.