GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – From a notorious strip club to a gentleman’s club, and soon: a place of worship. An Upstate church is buying a building that has been in hot water a number of times.

Hope Church is looking to change what used to be Bucks Racks and Ribs — to its new church home for Greenville.

At one point and time, 805 Frontage Road used to also be a strip club called Platinum Plus.

“I’ve been in the Greenville area for nearly 20 years and obviously I’ve known about that location from seeing it in the news, and just hearing stories about it, but the scandal of the building is not what drew us to the building,” said Rich Butler, Lead Pastor at Hope Church. 

Butler said they have been looking for a permanent location for more than a year.

The church is currently sharing a space with Greenville First on Haywood Road.

“So, after multiple hunts and failed attempts and near misses, and all that kind of thing, we heard that this building was going up for lease, and we weren’t interested in leasing it,” Butler explained. “But we reached out to the owners and asked if they would be interested in selling it. They said yes.”

“And so, that’s when we first took a tour of the building and after walking through the building with some of our elders, we really sensed that this was a God opportunity for Hope Church,” Butler said.

The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office said since 2018, there have been two shootings and more than 160 calls for service.

Now, Hope Church is looking to rewrite that story.

“It’s how you use the facility, that determines the reputation. The experience, the collateral–whether it’s damage or whatever it may be,” Butler said. “Our prayer is that one day in Greenville, families will no longer look at that building and remember pain and heartache or news headlines that were grievous, but to remember the hope, the restoration, people encountering God.”

“We’re believing that maybe the new story that God will write will eclipse what people used to know about that facility,” Butler said.

“Driving down [Interstate] 385, it will look radically different than it looks right now prayerfully sometime later in 2023,” Butler said.

Butler said, after renovations, the 30,000 square foot facility will have a 700-seat worship center, a kids’ ministry, youth ministry, and some multi-purpose spaces.

They want to deconstruct the property from its past and give the space a second chance.

“So, there’s going to be curiosity. There’s going to be some people that maybe roll their eyes a little bit,” Butler said. “I get it. But for us, it’s a prime location to champion the name of Jesus, and to offer hope to a city that God loves.”

“So when people encounter hope, here’s what they recognize, that my future is going to be better than my past,” Butler said. “So, that’s what we’re going to do out of this building, is we’re just preach good news. We’re going to serve the city, and we’re going to tell people, that regardless of what your past has looked like, the best is still yet to come.”

Pastor Butler said they are in the due diligence period, which means they are under contract.

He said the deal is set to close in late November.

Butler said they hope to start the construction process in the early part of 2023.

Hope Church has three campuses. The Spartanburg campus is 35 years old. The Simpsonville campus is nearly six years old, and the Greenville location was launched in February of 2022.