It’s been five years since Prish Moran purchased a couple of significant buildings at the corner of Lafayette and Grant Street (see story). One of those buildings was built as a tabernacle, and since its inception the building has played many a role in advancing the commercial cause of the neighborhood. Unfortunately, as the Grant Street area began to decline in years past, so did the use of the building. When I first met up with Prish five years ago I asked her what she had planned for the tabernacle building that she had acquired. At the time she told me that she figured that one day it would come in useful as a community space. But the time wasn’t right, and the building has been sitting mothballed ever since.
During a recent visit to Sweet_ness 7 Cafe, Prish walked up to me and said, “It’s time.” She told me that she would be replacing the windows of the building in coming weeks and turning the Tabernacle into a dance hall and community center (for now). It appears that the idea of ‘Industry Night‘ is once again taking hold. Prish’s idea is to bring people and activity to the building by renting it out to local dance groups. Ultimately, she would like to turn the great hall into a marketplace for immigrants and refugees.
The building is already connected to Sweet_ness 7 Cafe, which means that visitors will be able to go from one space to the other effortlessly. The ultimate plan for the marketplace is that of a stepped up incubator. “My building is listed as a Tabernacle,” Prish wrote to me. “Built by the famous Billy Sunday, a turn of the century evangelist. This was his first building in Buffalo! He bought the main building on Grant (Prish’s storefronts) to rent out and pay for the building of his tabernacle. It was a tabernacle for only two years because Billy outgrew his venue. He then built another bigger space on Main Street. Since that time, the tabernacle has been numerous things, including a bank and dance hall. Mostly a bakery workroom since the 40’s. And Sheehans Dry Goods at one point. Remember I bought it five years ago this summer?”
I certainly do remember. Ever since, I’ve been patiently waiting for Prish to deliver any sort of news regarding the future of the tabernacle. Knowing Prish, and all of the hard work that she has put into her corner building and storefronts, I am convinced that the future of this new venture is just as exciting. Stay tuned for more news on this inspirational project and others that are currently brewing in the neighborhood.