The J.W. Wright Building at the intersection of West Voorhis and South Clara avenues, once the hub of a thriving DeLand African American business district, will get $500,000 for continued restoration efforts.
The Greater Union Life Center Inc., an offshoot of Greater Union First Baptist Church (located at the same intersection), was awarded the grant money from the Florida Department of State, via the African-American Cultural and Historical Grant Program.
The Wright Building project was listed 14th out of 152 applicants, Greater Union Life Center Executive Director Mario Davis said.
“This project is more than just about restoring a building. The larger goal is to provide a place where members of this community can receive additional resources and support,” Davis said. “[We] look forward to what this building will mean to this community again for years to come.”
Originally constructed in 1920, the Wright Building was a hub for a thriving Black business community until it became vacant and fell into disrepair. The landmark was in danger of structural failure until restoration efforts began in 2018.
The goal is to reopen as a business incubator and Black history museum.
So far, about $270,000 has been put into stabilization and restoration via donations, along with grants for historic preservation and community redevelopment.