BRADENTON -- A building in the 500 block of 13th Street West will serve multiple purposes for its new owner, Galatians 6:2 Inc., with Gary Crawford as its president.
The 6,750-square-foot building with addresses of 516-518 was purchased by the not-for-profit Galatians for $250,000, with an Aug. 21 closing date, according to Manatee County property records.
Crawford, who owns Bi-It Consulting, which "manages business systems through technology and talent," according to his website, has been renting space across the street from his new property for three years. Crawford said the purchase was primarily made to move his company into its own space, but said he runs other associated nonprofit, faith-based organizations from his space that also will be incorporated into the new space.
The former owner is William King, who in 2012 submitted a pre-development application to the city to transform the vacant building into "King's Station," a faith-based transit center for the homeless needing immediate services before transitioning to the One Stop Turning Points homeless services center on 17th Avenue West. While the city accepted the application, notes were made that the city would no longer encourage nonprofits to take existing properties off of the tax rolls.
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The application never went any further and it expired a year later.
Crawford said the space is primarily for his business, but acknowledged that it would be used for specific purposes related to hopelessness. Crawford said he does not intent to attract homeless people to the site.
"This space will not be used for traditional homeless services such as ministry or feeding," he said. "There are plenty of ministries in the area that provide food and housing. What we are interested in is working to find strategic ways to help the city from the faith-based prospective. We seed to coordinate efforts because I think it hasn't been well coordinated. We aren't looking to duplicate anything and do not intend to replace the existing ministries."
Getting such an idea through the city would be difficult as a nonprofit, but Crawford said he intends to drop his not-for-profit status.
"So we will be paying taxes," he said. "We don't want to be a burden on the city. We want to be a part of the solution."
According to the New International Version of the Holy Bible, Galatians 6:2 reads, "Carry each other's burden, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
No development plans or permits have been applied to the city. Crawford said he has begun engaging engineers to provide the necessary information needed for renovation permits.
He said he hopes to be in the new building by July 1.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter@urbanmark2014.