GTA Producer to Buy Church for Edinburgh Community

The producer of the games so often derided for eroding morals secures a community center for his city.

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President of Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar North Leslie Benzies will buy Edinburgh’s St. Stephen’s Church to save it for the community, the Edinburgh Evening News reports.

A spokesperson for Benzies said that the church, which is believed to cost well over £500,000, is “an entirely philanthropic purchase” to preserve St. Stephen’s and keep it open to community use.

Dating back to the 1820s, the church has an 800-capacity venue that hosts live music, dance, and theater performances, and has been used as a local community center for the past two decades.

Benzies, a Scotland native, has lived in Edinburgh for more than a decade, where Rockstar North has developed every Grand Theft Auto game since Grand Theft Auto III.

According to the Edinburgh Evening News, Benzies’ undisclosed bid for the church beat more than 50 potential buyers who intended to turn it into private apartments or businesses.

Benzies’ spokesperson said that he recognized the building’s importance to the community. “My client looks forward to completing the sale imminently to secure the plans for the church’s ongoing use. We will engage with the community as the plans progress and look forward to welcoming local residents and groups back to the center in the very near future.”

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