The Richmond Methodist Episcopal Church at the corner of Richmond and W. Ferry Street has a new owner. 467 Richmond Avenue LLC purchased the property for $170,000 last Friday from Alleyway Theater. According to the NYS corporation database, the LLC’s contact person is Rachel Heckl of Massachusetts Avenue. Heckl did not respond to an email seeking details but sources say the property will be used as an arts center.
Closed in 1996, Alleyway Theater purchased the church in 1998 for $75,000 and had been raising money and restoring it as the Upper West Side Arts Center.
The chapel structure along W. Ferry Street dates to 1885-91 and the larger Temple facing both W. Ferry and Richmond Avenue dates to 1887-98 and was designed by Metzger & Greenfield. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. The building has a number of stained glass windows including the “Rose Window” facing Richmond Avenue that measures 14 feet in diameter and a 2,300 pipe grand organ (more history can be found on the Buffalo as an Architectural Museum page)
Alleyway Theater had been trying to raise $2.4 million to complete its arts center vision. The 24,000 sq.ft. structure was to feature a 600 seat concert hall, a 99 seat theatre, meeting rooms, rehearsal halls, artist studios, offices, classrooms, a banquet facility, and exhibit gallery. Nearly $1.5 million dollars had been raised to fund a number of improvements.
From Alleyway’s web site:
Renovations have included: completion of all demolition, installation of metal stud walls, upgrade of heating, plumbing, and electrical systems, installation of a new elevator, two new ground level entry ways, two new steel stair cases, new roof section and loft windows in the central stair well, new basement waterproofing system, new sidewalks, curbs and blacktop, landscaping/seeding, incidental roof repairs, installation of a new fire alarm system, and various theatre equipment has been purchased for the building.
Alleyway was unable to implement the plan and put the property on the market in 2012. The asking price ranged from $225,000 to $750,000. The higher price was for any buyer wanting to use the facility for something other than for the arts. A non-arts use would have required repaying public and private funding sources that helped pay for renovations anticipating it becoming an arts center.