By Ashley Kang
South Side residents were updated on the renovation of two South Salina Street properties at this week’s Tomorrow’s Neighborhoods Today meeting.
Couple Evelyn and Chino Ingram, who purchased the abandoned church at 2110 S. Salina St. from the Greater Syracuse Land Bank in July, shared preliminary design plans for the property developed with King + King Architects.
The Ingrams plan to turn the stone South Presbyterian Church into a multi-use venue they are calling The Castle. Planned renovations are expected to cost $7 million and take a year to complete, with the space set to open in 2022.
Phase one of environmental testing has been completed, and VIP Structures is working with the couple to provide guidance on the next steps for redevelopment.
“Imagine a fortress of strength and power,” said Evelyn Ingram during April’s TNT meeting. “We believe this is a project we’ve been called to do, and when you answer God’s call, he’ll provide the needed vision.”
The couple said the property that has sat vacant for more than a decade is their first development project. Once renovated, the pair say The Castle will host a variety of sophisticated events that appeal to a diverse crowd. Events will include conferences, galas, weddings, receptions and concerts, with hopes to bring in national talent. The venue space, housed where the sanctuary is currently, could also host high school proms, musical performances and ticketed holiday-themed events.
Their business plan includes allowing nonprofit organizations to utilize the space for monthly meetings and events, trainings and health or job fairs. Plans for the basement show the space can accommodate up to eight conference rooms.
“I even envision movie nights for local kids,” Evelyn Ingram added. “Grab a bean bag and come in for popcorn and to sit together to watch on the big screen.”
Another component will include a relaxed, after-work atmosphere. The couple sees this as an upscale lounge for professionals to stop by for drinks and to network. Residents brought up some concern on this feature during the meeting, questioning the couple’s distinction between a lounge and bar.
The lounge, which will have an enforced dress code, will be housed in the original chapel and have its own entrance. The couple stressed it will not be a bar or remain open until 2 a.m. Chino Ingram describes it as a space to unwind after work or in the evening.
“The intention is as a professional networking lounge,” he said.
The two want The Castle to provide vitality for the community and bring everyone together.
“We believe the whole Syracuse community deserves something nice,” Chino Ingram said. “And we want to ensure it keeps the integrity expected in the neighborhood.”
The redevelopment of 2520 S. Salina St. is moving forward, but with a different set of owners than originally announced.
Todd and Dr. Shanelle Reid had made a purchase offer on the property and said they planned to transform the former apartment building into the first Black-owned, full-service dental laboratory in the nation. But the Reids withdrew their offer in February.
Greater Syracuse Land Bank relisted the property and received a purchase offer from Sarah and Wilford Stephens Jr. for $10,000, according to minutes from February’s board meeting.
Will Stephens, a Syracuse firefighter who grew up on the South Side, said he has long dreamed of saving the property. This couple has purchased numerous single-family homes from the Land Bank, which they resell to owner-occupants.
The couple’s renovation budget is $783,350, and they plan to demolish the small house next door at 2504 to use for parking. They plan to keep to the building’s existing floor plan, which includes eight four-bedroom apartments. Their plan is to rent out four units at market-rate and the other four as income-restricted.
They have a contingent commitment of construction and permanent financing from Community Preservation Corp., and their offer is contingent upon being awarded $200,000 in HOME funds from the city of Syracuse in exchange for making four of the eight units affordable to renters earning 80% of area median income or less.
Ashley Kang is the director of The Stand