Former bank training complex in West Homewood to transform into ministry training center

Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association moving into former Southtrust/Wachovia building on Wildwood Parkway
Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 3:10 PM CDT
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HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WBRC) - The former bank training center on Wildwood Parkway in West Homewood is getting new life as the home to a new “trade school” for youth pastors and the new home of the Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association.

“When we started looking for some additional space, we weren’t really looking for this much space, but never run ahead of the vision God’s given you,” Dawson says. “We have plans for the ground floor, first floor, and second floor, and future expansions for the top three floors. It will be used as a training center, if we can use the phrase a trade school for youth pastors. This was kind of birthed out of a crisis. I have on my desk 37 churches around the Southeast that are looking for full-time youth pastors, we just can’t find them.”

The former owner of Patriot Equities donated the building at 210 Wildwood Parkway, as well as the 1,600-space parking deck next door, to Dawson’s ministry.

In a statement to WBRC, Patriot Equities CEO Erik Kolar said, “Although the office market has been challenging in general, the area around us has improved dynamically during our ownership and we are excited about the location, amenities and long term value opportunity for tenants/companies who chose to locate here. That said, we were in a unique position to do something creative with the building, something that wasn’t part of the original investment thesis. In a business where leverage is generally part of every investment return formula, we decided to pivot, and leverage our position for Scott where we could expand their reach dynamically and hopefully provide them with a first class, headquarters-quality facility. There is no return measurable than providing leverage to a group with Scott Dawsons’ mission and helping guide the spiritual lives of the people they will encounter going forward. The leverage on helping people live and follow a strong faith is infinite and we are proud to have been in a position to help make that happen.

We have purchased formally corporate-owned facilities in at least 18 states, and every once in a while, we are presented an opportunity to do something really special for the communities that surround our buildings. The entire Patriot Team is proud to have been able to do it again here in Birmingham.”

“When they said ‘we’re 90 percent sure we’re going to give you this facility,’ I don’t care how big of a visionary you are - at that point it makes you swallow really hard and say ‘wow, I never saw this coming,’” Dawson admits. “It just automatically took us into a whole new arena of ‘OK, we better start being prepared.’”

The new life for the vacant property comes amid a wave of redevelopment in West Homewood that includes the demolition of the former Econo Lodge on Oxmoor Road to make way for a new retail/residential complex, and the development of a new family dining/entertainment complex on Green Springs Highway.

“For our facility to be in the central of central Alabama - I-65 and Lakeshore, easy access, you see all the development that’s going on over there,” Dawson says. “We can open it up to other organizations that are like-minded, we believe it could be a collaboration center, an incubation center for ministries. We don’t want this to be a parking lot, we want it to be a launching pad to be able to work together, and partner together.”

Dawson plans to cut the ribbon on the new training center Oct. 9.

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