A former Toys R Us retail space will be the new home for this Urban Tampa Church
After 22 months of grueling negotiations Crossover Church and Toys R Us Delaware Inc. came to a final agreement and signed on March 4th, 2010 for the spacious property at 1235 East Fowler Ave. in Tampa. The pioneering Crossover Church is now positioning to make a huge impact in Tampaâ€™s rough â€œSuitcase Cityâ€ community. Having outgrown its former facility, the church recently sold their campus. The last Sunday at the New Orleans Avenue location was on January 24th, 2010. “It was an amazing last day as we ended with a huge concert after our 3rd service with Reach Records for DJ Officialâ€™s â€˜Entermissionâ€™ album release party. We went out with a bang,” says Crossover Pastor, author and EMI recording artist Tommy “Urban D” Kyllonen. “We were bursting at the seams doing 3 services every Sunday since 2005. We had been praying for a larger space to reach more people and offer more programs for the community we serve.” Those prayers were answered when the church closed on the property on Friday January 8th, 2010 – a miraculous feat in this turbulent economy. The property was sold to an up and coming Haitian Church â€œChristian Assemblyâ€™. Crossover has since partnered with them to do a relief effort for Haiti.
Crossover is an icon in the Christian Hip-Hop community; formerly known for its highly customized church home and urban-flavored worship style. The church has garnered national media attention from such outlets as USA Today, The 700 Club and CBS News. The past few years they were listed as one of Americaâ€™s Most Innovative Churches by Outreach Magazine which is the premier magazine for church leaders. Their new space is a 43,329 -square-foot stand alone retail building. It will host a 700-seat auditorium with several classrooms for kids, a cafÃ©, gymnasium, food pantry, tutoring rooms, a hip-hop shop and more. Crossover is actually leasing the space as they obtained an incredible deal at less than half the current market rate in that area. There is a growing trend of up and coming churches that are moving to this leasing model; as itâ€™s cheaper and gives the congregation leverage to get into the space quickly and grow without having to secure a large mortgage. Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina (elevationchurch.org) recently moved into their 42,000 square foot remodeled leased retail space where they are now reaching thousands each weekend.
Construction on Crossoverâ€™s new facility will begin soon with Debartolo Development spearheading the work. The project is currently in the engineering and permitting process with Rodriguez Architecture firm. The church plans to officially move into the new spot later in 2010 in time for the 10-year anniversary of their Flavor Fest Conference the weekend of 10/10/10. In the meantime, Crossover is now holding their three Sunday services at the Comfort Inn Conference Center on E. Busch Boulevard and Nebraska Ave. Pastor Tommy says of the hotel space, â€œItâ€™s working out great as itâ€™s double the size of our former church, so itâ€™s already given us room to grow during this transition period and we have plenty of space for kids and fellowship afterwards in the huge atrium. Our attendance has already shot up.â€ Crossoverâ€™s notorious hip-hop flavored Thursday night youth service is now meeting at Discovery Churchâ€™s Gym on North Armenia Ave.
With the church now reaching over 600 people on Sundays the members and staff are collectively reflecting on God’s faithfulness in both its past and its bright future. â€œThis is Godâ€™s vision, so we know we’re moving onto something better,” Youth Pastor Kenneth Godbolt says. “We can see His hand in the whole process. When we made the decision to sell our property in late 2008, it didnâ€™t seem like the best time to do it as the recession was kicking in. Our former campus was a unique older facility on a back street with two and a half acres. The reality is that it could have sat there for years with the market the way it is right now. However, its proven to be an opportunity for God to get His shine.â€
The church is confident that business leaders, suburban churches and corporations will continue to step to the plate along with congregation members to help donate material, labor and finances for the project. The build out is estimated to cost over a million dollars and close to three quarters of that has already been raised. If you would like to invest in Tampaâ€™s inner-city and make this dream a reality to see thousands of lives changed you can donate and view the video of the facility at www.crossoverchurch.org/growth