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Former Presbyterian church sold

     A historic part of Brookhaven has been purchased by a local couple.

     The former First Presbyterian Church building on South Church Street has been bought by Asem and Mimi Zeini. The deal was finalized on Wednesday.

     Records show J.M. Tedford built First Presbyterian Church of Brookhaven in 1906. The church’s built-in Moller pipe organ was added in 1947 and the newest additions are the Sunday school rooms, chapel and fellowship hall area built around 1957. The masonry walls are 9 to 12 inches thick.

     Rumor has been that the former church would be made into apartments, but Asem Zeini said that was not true.

     “We are not making them apartments,” he said. “That is absolutely not true. We would not insult the structure by making it apartments.”

     Zeini further stated he and his wife have no plans for the property at this time.

     “We have no plans for the property as of now, we just plan to preserve it,” he said. “We don’t have a clue of what we’re going to do with it. There has been structural damage over the years, but we hope to repair those over time.”

     Zeini said since the building is right in the middle of Brookhaven they would like to make something good out of it at some point.

     The couple has been contacted by a few churches that were interested in renting out the chapel portion of the church and they were deciding on whether or not to pursue that.

     Zeini said their present goal was to not do anything to damage the integrity of the structure and the building.

     “Both of us love the history of Brookhaven,” he said. “We live in a house built in 1853. One of my passions is to restore older homes. We actually do a lot of stuff in the Jackson and Madison areas to restore structures and make them look older.”

     The former church has been on the market for a while now as the state of the economy has apparently hindered its sale.

     However, Zeini could not resist the building’s historical allure.

     “The historical power of it is really what attracted us to it,” he said. “It’s right in the center of Brookhaven. We just love the building.”

     Some contents of the church will be donated to the Brookhaven Animal Rescue League to be used in an auction later this year.

     Zeini said the couple has always liked BARL since meeting the Gove family a long time ago.

     “We’ve always been fond of BARL and one of the reason is I met Mr. and Ms. Ed and Jan Gove 30 or 40 years ago. “They were some of the initial founders of BARL.”