The Richmond Road campus of Southland Christian Church would have plenty of glass, metal sunscreens, canopies and colonnades.
The church released artist renderings Saturday of its planned transformation of the long-vacant Lexington Mall at Richmond and New Circle roads in Lexington.
The plans show the former Dillard's store made over with more glass and metal sunscreens providing shade. A worship center looks out on a plaza.
"We are assisting Southland by transforming the existing Richmond Road retail center into a contemporary venue that would express emotion, interest and energy," architect Rick Ekhoff said in a news release from the church.
The 49,000-square-foot worship center would occupy former mall space adjacent to the Dillard's building. The center would hold up to 2,800 people in floor and balcony seating.
Most of the former Dillard's — 84,000 square feet — would be renovated for nursery, children, middle school, high school, and "Helping Through Him" programs along with teaching space. Another 61,000 square feet of the Dillard's would be left unfinished for future expansion.
In addition to the plaza, there would be a water feature and parking for 1,800 vehicles.
The church's redevelopment plan, estimated to cost $30 million, was approved Thursday by the city's Planning Commission.
Southland announced in August it intended to buy the mall from Saul Centers, a Maryland-based development firm that has owned the mall since 1994.
Chris Hahn, Southland's senior executive pastor, said the church hopes to close on the property by late this month. The church is planning a capital campaign over the next three years to pay for the project.
It plans to sell the portion of the property that has three businesses, including an Applebee's, a Perkins restaurant and a car wash. The Home Depot and Central Bank own the property on which they sit.
The mall has been vacant since Dillard's closed in 2005.
Southland has 10,000 members at its church on Harrodsburg Road in Jessamine County, near the Fayette County line.
The church has a plan to have five satellite churches in Central Kentucky by 2017. Last year, it bought an old Lowe's in Danville and began holding services there.