"Rooftop Pastor" Motel Coming Down

Demolition crews began destroying the abandoned Super Motel at 8 a.m.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Charlie Wojciechowski
    College students gave up their spring break last week to start leveling the abandoned Super Motel to make room for a Woodlawn community center.

    The demolition of a South Side eyesore continued Tuesday morning, and the pastor of New Beginnings Church was one step closer to getting his wish.

    Demolition crews began destroying the abandoned Super Motel on which Pastor Corey Brook held a 94-day rooftop vigil to raise money and turn the building into a community center.

    Last week Brooks joined members of Project H.O.O.D. (Helping Others Obtain Destiny), as well as pastors, college students and elected officials to prepare the abandoned motel at 6625 S. Martin Luther King Dr. for demolition.

    "I had a group that wanted to come," said Brent Corbin from the University of Tulsa. "We had a week. They paid money to come work, and in my mind that doesn't make sense, but in God's economy that works. So he brought us up here and here we are."

    Brooks ended his stay atop the old motel in February after actor-director Tyler Perry donated the rest of a $450,000 pledge aimed to purchase the land and build a community center across from New Beginnings Church.

    Perry donated $100,000, and another anonymous donor, described as a Christian businessman from Chicago, donated $85,000 for the project.

    Another $15 million must be raised to build the community center, which will feature mixed income housing, commercial spaces and the New Beginnings Church's "Master Academy."

    "Fifteen million dollars is a lot of money but there are a lot of people with compassion and a lot of people who understand what we're trying to do and I have no doubt we're going to reach the goal," said Brooks.

    Architectural firm Perkins+Will has agreed to design the community center pro bono.

    Brooks held a demolition party this month, to mark the beginning of what many hope will be a rebirth of the Englewood community.