HOUSTON (Houston Business Journal) – Lakewood Church has purchased the former Compaq Center from the city for $7.5 million.

Lakewood signed a 30-year lease on the 16,000-seat facility in 2002 and spent over $80 million renovating it before beginning worship services there in July 2005.

The sale of the seven-acre property at 3700 Southwest Fwy. is a move by the Houston City Council to reduce the city’s budget deficit. A Lakewood spokesman said the church will use debt to fund the transaction, which is expected to close in 45 days.

For more on mega churches, read “Good Heavens! Texas Churches Grow to Biblical Proportions” in the April 2007 issue of  Tierra Grande magazine.