Sunday, November 2, 2014

Renovations begin at Richmond Ferry Church

            The Richmond Ferry Church, on the corner of West Ferry Street and Richmond Avenue, is beginning its construction process for its $5 million renovation project. 
            Five years after 467 Richmond Avenue LLC bought the property from Alleyway Theater in 2013, planning for the project began at the beginning of the summer.  The renovations are expected to be completed in 2016.

            Rachel Heckl, lead partner of 467 Richmond Avenue, has assembled a team to direct the project. It includes communication director and archivist, Julia Purpera,   who works on the project’s social media and preserving the historic significance of the church; Emily Tucker, owner of the Benjamin Gallery and creator of the site’s Benjamin Contemporary Gallery; and Leah Pabst, who contributes to the environmental aspects of the project.
            Goals of the renovation project consists of a black box theater, which will seat about 110 people and an amphitheater, which will seat about 600, will be used for multicultural art performances   as well as weddings and other community events.

           Plans include a commissary kitchen in the basement of the church to be used by caterers during events. Independent bakers, pizza makers, and food trucks will also be invited to use the space.

            The project team and the team of Blue Sky Concepts intend to keep as much of the original building as possible such as the stained glass windows.  

            “We’re hoping to be very community based and to help the children around here and to offer music classes for the children and dance classes for the children and kind of have like a little place for them to go,” Purpera said. By Ryan Gilliam and Nicole Montanino