Nowhere is the growth of the Scientology religion more in evidence than Flag, its spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, Florida. Planned to ensure the most important Scientology religious retreat continues to meet the increasing need for its services, what began with a single property in 1975 now spans a complex of some 50 buildings over a nine-mile grid, totaling upwards of two million square feet. Here follows a brief but incisive history of that expansion:
First there was the opening of the 172,000-square-foot Oak Cove on January 1, 2008. Its renovation provided both religious retreat accommodations for visiting Scientologists and space devoted to the ministry of Flag religious services in 14 languages.
Next was the grand opening of the new Fort Harrison on March 14, 2009, with more than 6,000 Scientologists from over 50 nations filling the streets and sidewalks as Mr. David Miscavige officiated. The renovation and restoration of all 267,000 square feet of the Fort Harrison beyond its original 1926 grandeur marked the end of phase two.
The latest phase of expansion came to fruition on November 17, 2013 when the monumental Flag Building opened its doors. More than 10,000 Scientologists gathered for the dedication ceremony, which was led by Mr. David Miscavige. The building is an architectural triumph, standing 377,000 square feet and occupying a full city block.