Redemption Church found its new home in the Doris Building, but plans to bring more to the storefront than Sunday services.
Pastor Jeremy Carr envisions a downtown hub where the church’s diverse congregation can meet for worship but also where artists and musicians can convene to provide the community a cultural offering.
“We want to have Redemption Church as a congregation that meets here, but the Doris Building is a separate structure,” Carr said. “Redemption uses it. Redemption owns it, but the Doris Building we want to be used as a separate entity for cultural involvement and engagement. We want to really tip our hat and honor the history here.”
Through funding from the Christian and Missionary Alliance, an organization that aids churches around the world, and First Alliance Church, a ministry that closed last year on Ingleside Drive, the church bought the 13,000-square-foot property in early February. The sale price was in the $300,000 range, Carr said.
After going through a bank foreclosure in early 2013, the building at 930 Broad St. was purchased for $215,000 by local investor Rafy Bassali in December.
The vacant building is split into two commercial spaces and contains four back offices downstairs and an additional four upstairs. Sundrees Urban Market, a locally owned organic grocer, occupied one of the spots for two years before closing in early 2013.
Carr said he will knock out the middle wall separating the two storefront spots to create a large worship space that will accommodate a few hundred people and a stage for bands. The back rooms will be used for classroom and conference space along with administrative offices.
“It’s a groovy space,” Carr said. “You’re not going to find this in the suburban sprawl.”
With the forthcoming move downtown, Redemption Church will return to its roots. The church, formerly named The Well, met in the 700 and 1200 blocks of Broad Street before relocating to a larger space six miles away in Warren Road Elementary School.
Carr, a musician and former Pizza Joint employee, said Redemption was created eight years ago as a spiritual avenue for people who live, work and play downtown. The church’s membership consists largely of downtown artists, musicians, business owners, entrepreneurs and those in the medical community, he said.
Though services moved to the elementary school a year and a half ago, the church maintained a downtown presence by keeping its office on Broad Street and holding staff meetings and Bible studies in Olde Town, at Still Water Tap Room or New Moon Cafe and other nearby establishments.
For years, Carr said, the church combed through the downtown real estate market but found that every building was either too small or too expensive to renovate. The Doris Building, he said, needs only a few minor repairs. The church should be ready by summer.