Yesterday, Gateway Church Senior Pastor Robert Morris announced a mega-deal between two megachurches in Dallas, TX. Robert Morris’ Gateway Church has agreed to acquire Prestonwood Baptist’s Hillcrest campus near I-635 and Hillcrest Road in Dallas. Prestonwood Baptist’s lead pastor is Jack Graham. Officially listed as 6827 Willow Lane, the Hillcrest campus is valued at $20.7 million according to Dallas Central Appraisal District. Morris did not disclose the purchase price.
The video announcement from October 17, 2015 is at the new Dallas.gatewaypeople.com website. You can watch the video at that site. The transcript is below:
Hey everyone. I have some extremely exciting news for you. You know we’re always praying about where to open our next campus. Well I’m going to tell you today. We are going to open our next campus this spring in Dallas. In Dallas. We have been praying about it. And I wanna tell you how this came about. Years ago, there was a church, it was called Hillcrest Church and Prestonwood bought that facility in 2011. And they’ve had a campus there. But they have felt led to go in a different direction. And Dr. Graham called me and said, ‘we would like to sell this campus to Gateway Church.’ And Dr. Graham and I are great friends. We’ve done things here in the city for the Kingdom. We’ve done things in our nation for the Kingdom. But I wanna commend Dr. Jack Graham and Prestonwood. They are so Kingdom minded that when they felt led to go to a different direction, they said, ‘we want Gateway Church to have this campus.’ So we’re in the process right now of buying that campus, 635 and Hillcrest and will open some time this spring. I’ll let you know when. But we’re gonna have a campus now in Dallas, Texas. Thank you Lord.
Earlier this year, Morris, in the 2014 annual report, signaled a move toward North Fort Worth and/or Frisco. With the Hillcrest purchase, Gateway may, like Prestonwood, be moving in a different direction.
The Hillcrest property was first built in 1990, and has over 150,000 square feet with a combined seating capacity of 2,900. Prestonwood paid $18 million for Hillcrest in 2011. At the time, Jack Graham assured his congregation and Dallas’ WFAA Channel 8 news audience that attendance would grow from under 1,000 to over 6,000, and would require 2-3 services per weekend. Apparently, Graham’s attempts to grow the Hillcrest location did not work out.
Gateway’s Lead Executive Senior Pastor Tom Lane has been assigned as the campus pastor for Gateway Dallas.
The Hillcrest Dallas purchase transaction is expected to close December 4, 2015. Gateway will remodel the children’s area, and add a bookstore and café, and plans to launch regular weekend services in March 2016.