CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Tremont couple who purchased a vacant Byzantine Catholic church in Cleveland’s near-West Facet neighborhood have plans to show the century-old constructing into a marriage and occasions heart.
Stephanie Nord and her fiancé Tim Ridgely plan to renovate the 9,000-square-foot former Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church on Kenilworth Avenue, close to West 14th Avenue, and remodel it into The Elliot occasion heart. Nord stated she hopes to begin renovations by July, for them to take between six and eight months, and for the house to be prepared by spring 2022.
The couple plans to color and restore a lot of the outside of the two-domed church, which was constructed greater than a century in the past by Ruthenian immigrants, individuals of Slavic descent from a area within the Carpathian Mountains.
Their plans additionally entail in depth renovations inside the principle corridor on the bottom flooring and within the basement, in keeping with a presentation made Thursday at a Cleveland Landmarks Fee assembly. They may even take away 10 stained glass home windows on two sides of the church due to their situation.
Nevertheless, they stated they’d restore the big round stained glass that faces Kenilworth Avenue and eight situated on the 2 towers. Additionally they hope to include the home windows they take away into renovations throughout the church.
As soon as accomplished, the bottom flooring will be capable of maintain 200 company, whereas the basement will be capable of maintain about 100, Nord stated in an interview.
The Landmarks Fee gave its OK to the venture, although it beneficial that Nord and Ridgely not alter the round essential window throughout the restoration, after Nord stated she deliberate to change the middle of its design.
“We do respect and perceive that this was a church at one level,” she stated throughout the assembly “however we wish to provide a secular occasion house as a result of individuals can be getting married right here. And so we simply wish to make it inclusive for everyone.”
Holy Ghost closed in 2009, and the Parma-based Byzantine Eparchy stated on the time that the variety of parishioners attending providers had dwindled.
The church turned a cultural heart earlier than absolutely closing its doorways in 2015. It modified arms following the closure. Nord and Ridgely purchased the constructing in February from Cleveland entrepreneur and Saucy Brew Works CEO Brent Zimmerman for $346,600, Cuyahoga County property data present.
Zimmerman as soon as deliberate to construct greater than 40 flats on rather a lot subsequent to the church, however the Board of Zoning Appeals rejected his request to have fewer-than-normal parking areas on the positioning.
Nord stated after the assembly that she left her job in January as an alumni heart occasion coordinator with Case Western Reserve College to give attention to The Elliot venture full time, which she estimated will value $1.8 million. She stated she wished to work in occasions since she was 16, when she arrange, tore down and served at weddings at a banquet corridor the place she grew up in Connecticut.
She stated that when she floated the thought of opening her personal enterprise, Ridgely, who owns a number of properties and works for a restaurant know-how firm, shortly rose to the problem.
“Final summer time, in the midst of the pandemic, my fiancé and I had been speaking about how in 5 years I wish to personal my very own firm, how I wish to purchase a venue and do weddings,” Nord stated. “Inside per week, he stated ‘hey, I discovered you a constructing.’”
A letter of intent to purchase the church adopted quickly after, she stated.
Khalid Hawthorne, director of actual property growth for Tremont West Growth Corp., stated the native block membership helps the venture, largely as a result of Nord and Ridgely have been receptive to suggestions and clear about their plans.
The couple nonetheless wants approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals to alter how the constructing is used and to grant a variance to permit fewer-than-normal parking areas on website. Nord stated she plans to lease house on Prepare Avenue and have a valet service to park automobiles there.
She hopes it’s a stable addition to the neighborhood, the place she’s lived since 2015. Whereas the neighborhood has many church buildings, she hoped it encourages extra individuals to remain within the neighborhood after their marriage ceremony ceremony is over.
“It retains individuals in our neighborhood and brings individuals to our companies,” Nord stated.