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Why a Naples Church just bought a former fitness complex for $12 million

Posted at 6:11 PM, Jan 24, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-24 18:11:10-05

NAPLES, Fla. — The Covenant Presbyterian Church of Naples has closed a deal on a vacant building and lot on Golden Gate Parkway for $12.2 million. They plan to turn the 30,000 square foot building into a new school site for the Naples Christian Academy.

The building, which has been the site of one fitness club after another for the past two decades, has remained vacant since last summer. Now, the Covenant Presbyterian Church has ambitious plans for the 45-year-old property.

John Hunter, the Executive Director of the Covenant Church of Naples, says there is an increasing demand for Christian schools in the area and envisions the renovated campus serving children in kindergarten through 8th grade.

"It's strategically located as it relates to the current population of the school and the attendees there," Hunter explained to Fox 4. "It's accessible. It is large enough to be renovated for the capacity of the 225 kids."

The Naples Christian Academy has been in operation for 52 years, according to Hunter. For the past several years, they have has to lease sites for the academy under different owners.

The site would become its new primary location after renovation.

Claudia Wagner, one parent with three children attending the academy, told Fox 4 she and other parents are excited about the new campus.

"It's going to be a large campus, I believe… and they'll be able to, I hope, do a lot of other things that'll afford them with the space," says Wagner.

Hunter says the county has granted them conditional approval to move forward with their plans. The conditions involve limitations on the capacity of students and stacking traffic at drop off and pick up times.

The Covenant Church of Naples says renovations will be underway shortly. Hunter says the school will be ready for students as early as the 2025-26 school year.