(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2013)
A prominent structure that welcomes drivers to Edward Everett Square and has been vacant and in disrepair for years will soon be reborn as a church and book store.
The three-story structure, located at 1299 Massachusetts Ave., previously housed an auto shop and produce market. Work on the building is expected to be completed as soon as the fall, according to staff with Living Stream Ministry, a nonprofit Christian text supplier who owns the building.
Living Stream Ministry, which is based in California, will own and manage the building, and space will be shared, rent-free, with the Church In Boston, said Laurence Tolmie, facilities manager for Living Stream.
Multiple calls to the Church In Boston were not returned.
The church currently meets at the Harbor Point Community Center in Dorchester, according to its website.
Crews are in the process of finishing up work on the building that sits on a 5,307-square-foot lot. Work included the complete renovation and rehab of the structure.
The property in the past was considered a “commercial” site, but is now consider “exempt,” according to the city's Assessing Department.
It is thought that the building was constructed sometime between 1910 and 1918, according to the Dorchester Historical Society.
Tolmie said the first floor will be used for the church’s meeting hall as well as a small book store for Living Stream Ministry. The second floor will be used for community rooms and the third floor will house living units for church staff.
“There are a lot of advantages to the location,” Tolmie said. “It’s close to public transit and the freeway and we like the neighborhood.”
Tolmie added that church services would be held on Sundays and there would also be mid-week services. The site has 30 parking spaces.
This isn’t the Church In Boston's first attempt to move into the neighborhood.
In 2010 it sought to convert property on Savin Hill Avenue into an assembly space and residence for staff, but met strong community opposition, according to the local paper, the Dorchester Reporter.
Church In Boston is one of the three churches in Greater Boston administered by the group, said its website.
(Image courtesy Living Stream Ministry)