City A Potential Buyer of Historic Downtown Church

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(Memphis) The Historic Clayborn Temple on Hernando in Downtown Memphis has been vacant for years but on the market for 14 months now.

In that time only one offer has been made on the building and that offer was rejected.

But now realtor Sam Mitchell claims there are two offers on the table and the city could be a third.

"I’ve heard just rumors and I have not talked to him at all or with the city. The Bishop has talked  with them and other interested parties have talked," said Mitchell about Mayor A C Wharton.

A WREG staff member said it was Wharton who mentioned the city's interest in buying the building at an AME church conference over the weekend in Memphis.

Mayor Wharton was out of town and not availiable for comment.

Mary Cashiola from the City of Memphis said there was no one else to comment on the issue.

Mitchell would not say who the other interested parties were.

"Neither one of them are from  other churches they are both private one has talked  to us with any intentions of disturbing the building.That’s what everyone wants to preserve, that’s the building," said Mitchell by phone Tuesday.

The Clayborn Temple was built in 1891 as the Second Presbyterian Church.

It was later sold to the African Episcopal Church and became a landmark for Memphis Civil Rights.

"During the 60s it was the rallying point for all of the civil right marches with Dr. King. My understanding is that they would start from Clayborn Temple and after the marches they would come back  and gather at Clayborn Temple," said Mitchell.

Renovations of the building are said to be $3 to 4 million.

The price tag on the building is $1 million.

The church was vacant for years as church leadership hoped to restore the building themselves.

However that didn't happen.

More is expected to develop by the end of the week.

As of now, the building is boarded up.