JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A neighborhood building's new direction is benefiting an entire community.
"It's like a light in the midst of darkness," said Bishop Abiola Idowu of Crepa Church.
7171 Arlington Expressway has a history of serving up food.
The new menu is divine.
After formerly housing a restaurant and sitting empty for years, the formerly dilapidated building has a new owner.
"The whole place was overgrown," said Ade Sogbesan, the chairman of the church's transition committee. "Then there wasn't any number on the building for you to locate."
Sogbesan and Idowu were looking for a new building for Crepa Church, one they could own. With no for sale sign or realtor on the property, Sogbesan looked up the address in city records to find it was owned by Jacksonville University.
He said they agreed to sell for $300,000.
"Since we got the building, a lot of people have been coming over saying 'yeah we've been looking for a church hope,'" Idowu said.
Idowu moved to Jacksonville from Nigeria only five years ago with a mission from God: to open a church in Arlington.
And the community is responding.
"There's virtually no Sunday we don't receive up to 5, 6, 10 first-time visitors," Sogbesan said.
Since starting Crepa Church in a warehouse five years ago, the congregation has grown from three to 300.
And even more watch online from their parent church in Nigeria; they stream services live.
The new building gives them room to grow and takes one more Jacksonville building off the vacant list.
Sogbesan lives in Arlington. He said it can be a rough area and believes they found the church building there for a reason.
"Maybe he wants to use us as a submission of change in Arlington," Sogbesan said.
The leaders hope the church will be a beacon of light in the neighborhood.
First Coast News