Lee Jenkins is senior pastor of Eagles Nest Church. The church bought the shopping center as majority owners of the property under the entity ENA Group LLC.

Jenkins and Young did not provide the names of the minority owners in the purchase. Jenkins said the minority owners will guide Eagles Nest through planning and development.

While the site will become home to Eagles Nest Church, Jenkins said: “It won’t be a typical church campus.”

He wants to remodel the property, which is now anchored by Kroger supermarket, into a destination for East Roswell. The business group is considering restaurant and retail, among other uses for the property. Jenkins plans to build a multipurpose event facility with an auditorium where church services will take place on Sundays, and separate activities can be held through public rentals on other days of the week.

Eagles Nest services are currently held nearby at Centennial High School. The church started in 2011 with 20 members, Jenkins said, and has grown to 3,000.

The full-time pastor formerly worked as an investment advisor for Morgan Stanley and Raymond James, and currently performs financial consulting services to churches ranging from budgeting to real estate acquisitions, he said.

Jenkins has had an interest in the Holcomb Bridge Road site for several years. It was under contract to purchase in 2020, he said, when Eagles Nest Church along with developers Mayfair Street Partners and Competitive Social Ventures were looking to build the recreational venue Pickle and Social at the property. Mayfair and Competitive Social Ventures are building the venue in Gwinnett instead.

“We did not feel we could move forward by ourselves (when it didn’t work out), and we said whenever the time is right we will try again,” Jenkins said.

According to Bull Realty, a city of Roswell moratorium imposed on some types of development had “presented challenges for potential buyers looking to redevelop the site.”

Similar to Jenkins who lives in East Roswell, city officials have said they want to attract developers to that area of the city. Residents in the community do not have the same variety of restaurants and activities as the walkable Canton Street district on the other side of town.

“We have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on due diligence. So this is something we deeply care about,” Jenkins said of the new project’s possibilities.

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