Major renovations appear to be getting under way at Clayborn Temple.
A $1.5 million building permit was pulled Thursday for the building, located at 294 Hernando. The church and community gathering place was scheduled to close this spring for renovations. The permit did not include any details of the work to be done.
The building was purchased in 2015 by Memphis entrepreneur Frank Smith.
“This place is way too important for it just to be a church on Sunday," Smith said in Memphis
magazine last year. "It needs to be alive and breathe with the same kind of energy it did all of its life.”
Here's a bit of history on the church from the Clayborn Temple website:
"In 1979, Clayborn Temple was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The AME congregation continued to worship in Clayborn until the doors were closed due to the congregants, similar to Second Presbyterian before it, moving away from Downtown.
"For over 25 years this formative institution in Memphis has sat vacant. One of our nation’s most significant church buildings, vibrant gathering places, and a landmark in the civil rights movement still stands here in Memphis awaiting restoration.
"It would be a great loss if this legacy ended because of an inability to restore the building in time. After years of non-use, Clayborn Temple is on track for restoration. This is likely Memphis’ last chance to see Clayborn Temple not only preserved but utilized as a worshipping, gathering, working place and symbol for the new Memphis that is growing within the city, particularly Downtown.