Oct 22, 2010 6:35 PM by Zach Thaxton
Colorado Springs' largest convention hall, the Phil Long Expo Center, is shutting its doors for good at the end of the year and will be transformed into a huge church, meaning big conventions and trade shows will have to find somewhere else to go.
The venue has been sold to The Springs Church, a non-denominational church, for $5 million. The church will build a 2,000-seat sanctuary and provide a host of other church and outreach services in the 90,000-square-foot facility.
Trevor Mack, Chief Financial Officer for the Phil Long Dealerships Group, says the convention business has waned in recent years, so it made sense to sell the venue. Gary Wilkerson, lead pastor for The Springs Church, says he's not trying to build the region's next mega-church, but rather is looking for a large facility in which to conduct worship and provide services. "Officially, a mega-church is 2,000 people. We're not there, nor do we have a goal to be there," Wilkerson says. "Our goal is to obey God and to be a good church, a healthy church, a church that transforms our own lives and reaches out to the city to seek change as well."
The venue will change hands November 15. Events already booked at the Phil Long Expo Center will go on as planned. Wilkerson says first services at the new The Springs Church are scheduled for January 2.