Sale of church brings back memories

for sale

St. John Greek Orthodox Church on U.S. Hwy. 98, dedicated in 1984, has been sold to Destin businessman, Mike Buckingham.

Published: Sunday, March 31, 2013 at 07:25 PM.

The sale of an abandoned church that has become a Destin icon has awakened memories of the past and fears for its future.

St. John Greek Orthodox Church was purchased by Destin businessman, Mike Buckingham, on his third offer, which was $330,000, after it had been on the market for months.

The chapel and property at 303 Hwy. 98 were appraised at a little under $350,000 in 2012, according to the Okaloosa County Property Appraiser.

"My initial thought was to make it a restaurant," Buckingham told The Log. "I'm not going to rush because it is a beautiful building. I want to make sure it is done right.”

The most recognizable feature of the church is its dominant stained glass windows, but over the years, the building itself has deteriorated. The carpets are mildewed and some of the wood columns that support the church’s porch are rotting.

But many in the community still have vibrant memories of this chapel that love built, and they are worried that the structure will be destroyed.

Buckingham, however, says "at this time, I have no plans to tear it down. I want to take my time and think it out."

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