Florida church to convert former strip club into house of worship

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — From bodies to souls.

A church in Florida is planning to buy a former strip club and transform it into a house of worship.

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Josh Mauney, the lead pastor at NewSound Church in Wellington, said his organization came to terms to buy a building in suburban  West Palm Beach that formerly housed Double Dee's Ranch, WPEC reported. All that is left to close the deal is signing the paperwork, Mauney said, but as of Tuesday the listing for the property remained active.

While Mauney did not say how much the church will pay for the property, Strategic Realty Services listed the 20,000-square-foot former bar and strip club building for $9 million. The building was built in 2016 and has been on the market since November 2018, according to the real estate company. The building contains 13,000 square feet on the ground floor and 6,500 feet on its mezzanine level, according to the Strategic Realty website.

Mauney, who founded his church in January 2018, said the building will be able to seat between 600 and 750 people. Currently, church services are held every Sunday at Wellington High School, located in western Palm Beach County.

Mauney said he was not concerned with the building's previous tenant, and finds the new location, well, heavenly.

"I don't mind being in a building that was a strip club any more than I mind somebody walking in our doors that had at one time in their life been a stripper," Mauney told WFOR. "We believe we can bring hope and healing to any location, that's what we're trying to do."

Double Dee's had an edgy past; the site was purchased in 2013 by a man the FBI described as having connections to the Colombo crime family, according to The Palm Beach Post.

Mauney is undaunted and said his congregation, which totals more than 1,000, is excited about moving into a larger space.

"I believe that God is opening up some doors that a 20-month-old church can't open by themselves," Mauney told WPEC. "The people that call NewSound Church home are overwhelmingly excited about the idea to take a space like this and see God do something amazing in it."

Mauney said he hopes to make renovations, transferring poles to pews, and will egin holding services early next year, WPEC reported.