Phoenix’s Historic Downtown Baptist Church is getting the long overdue resurrection it so desperately needs. The church, affectionately dubbed “The Monroe Abbey”, is transforming into a new hub of bustling active space for downtowners and visitors to enjoy.
“This was finished in 1929, just before the depression. It was a big church; 1,400 or more were here for services. It was designed for chorale singing and mass choirs,” former Arizona Attorney General and First Baptist Church advocate, Terry Goddard, explains.
In 1968 The First Baptist Congregation held its final church service at the 3rd Avenue Church, and relocated to its new facilities on Glendale Avenue, leaving the building vacant.
In 1982 the Church is added to the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1984,the sanctuary went up in flames and burned for two days, causing the roof to collapse completely.
In 1992 the Church is declared a hazard and was set for demolition. Saved from the wrecking ball by Terry Goddard and other local heroes.
Although the fire left the church in disrepair, the open-air cathedral has had a renaissance of nature over the last twenty years with an unruly “secret garden”, zillions of birds, and about thousands bees making the space their home.
Architects at Jones Studio along with Patry Building Co are taking on the heavy lifting to transform the Abbey into a multi-tenant, mixed-use space while keeping both the integrity of the structure and working the majestic beauty of the natural growth into the development. The new four-story space will be activated with a black box theatre, restaurant, office space, gallery and even a speakeasy. There’s even enough space in the center courtyard for performances and events.
Join Local First AZ and Get Your PHX this Thursday, April 21st for exclusive tours inside the palatial property with Katherine Patry as well as a special update on the Welnick Bros. development just down the street. Let us know you'll be attending by clicking here!