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LifeWay’s former Sullivan Tower to be imploded

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated to reflect a change in the time of the implosion July 21.

NASHVILLE (BP) — Implosion of the 11-story Sullivan Tower on the former campus of LifeWay Christian Resources is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Saturday, July 21.

Sullivan Tower, on Ninth Avenue North in downtown Nashville, was built in phases from 1940-1956 and named for James L. Sullivan, president of the Sunday School Board (now LifeWay) from 1953-1975.

The SBC Building, located directly across the street from the tower, may experience a disruption in internet service. The SBC Building houses the SBC Executive Committee, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, Southern Baptist Foundation and Seminary Extension. Among the Executive Committee websites that may be disrupted for an undetermined length of time are sbc.net, bpnews.net and sbclife.net due to cable service located underneath the street of the implosion.

Sullivan Tower originally was used as an administration building, with its basement and first two floors completed in 1940. Nine more floors were added from 1950 to 1956. The six-story north wing was constructed in 1922, with a structure connecting it to the Sullivan Tower built in 1960.

Sullivan Tower and the other buildings on LifeWay’s former property are being cleared as part of a mixed-use redevelopment called The Nashville Yards, which will include a hotel, office buildings, restaurants, retail and entertainment venues. The controlled implosion will include a number of road closures and restricted access around the perimeter of the building. In January, developers imploded the 12-story Draper Tower named for former LifeWay President Jimmy Draper.

The nearby Frost Building, named for LifeWay’s first president, James M. Frost, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is not a part of the demolition.

LifeWay completed the sale of its 14.5-acre campus in downtown Nashville in November 2015. The campus encompassed nine buildings with more than 1 million square feet.

LifeWay employees moved to the newly constructed headquarters in the Capitol View downtown development in November 2017. The new 277,000-square-foot headquarters also houses a LifeWay retail store.

LifeWay is one of the world’s largest providers of Christian products and services, including Bibles, books, Bible studies, music, church supplies, events. Established in Nashville in 1891, the company owns and operates more than 170 LifeWay Christian Stores throughout the United States as well as Ridgecrest Christian Conference Center in North Carolina.