MorningStar Fellowship Church plan for tower causes concern

Council questions owner’s funding, and roads worry neighbors

A plan to renovate the old PTL tower is being met with skepticism by neighbors and the York County Council despite assurances by its owner that it will one day become a boon to the neighborhood.

MorningStar Fellowship Church, which owns the tower near Fort Mill, says it will invest $50 million, transforming it into homes possibly for people 50 and older with about 250 units. Most of the details, including whether units would be for sale or rent, have yet to be worked out.

The church appeared before the council Monday in a successful attempt to get an extra three months to file a request that would allow the building to stand.

The church has owned 52 acres of the former PTL land since 2004.

During the meeting, several residents and councilmen expressed doubt about the church’s plans.

Councilman Joe Cox questioned “whether or not they have the money necessary to complete the task.”

Councilman Rick Lee said the uses the church listed for the building in the application process were “a moving target.”

The founder of the church, Rick Joyner, tried to allay the fears of the members and residents in attendance.

He acknowledged neighbors did not know much about the church, but that he was trying to change that.

“We want to be part of the community,” Joyner told the council.

Joyner said the building is worth $11 million as is. Though it is falling apart superficially, it is structurally sound, according to Joyner and the county.

The church estimates it will need 30 months to renovate the building from the point of approval by the county.

Though questioned about its finances, Joyner said the church could pay for the renovation. The church’s assets, including the old PTL land, are worth $30 million, Joyner said. To pay for the renovation, he said he has been speaking with management firms and investment companies.

“The money is a slam dunk,” said Pat Selvey, construction manager for MorningStar.

Most of the residents had concerns about the roads in the area.

The building is behind the Regent Park neighborhood, which has private roads. The residents pay for the upkeep and repair of those roads.

While they are worried foremost about their roads, they also don’t want to see the property turn into a ghost town.

“My biggest fear is what happened to PTL,” said Terry Meacham, a nearby resident.

MorningStar has already invested $5 million to $6 million in the property, refurbishing the old PTL hotel, including the Main Street feature, Joyner said.

But, as one councilman said, the worst-case scenario for the building looms.

“If it doesn’t come together in 90 days, let the wrecking ball slide,” Lee said.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
The Charlotte Observer, USA
Mar. 8, 2007
Taylor Bright

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This post was last updated: Monday, March 12, 2007 at 1:25 PM, Central European Time (CET)