That hip new building downtown? It’s (another) church

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by Eric Ginsburg

There’s a new kid on the block, and it looks a lot like its neighbor.

The ongoing renovations at 421 W. Smith St. echo those recently completed for Crafted: the Art of Street Food and Preyer Brewing around the corner on the northern side of downtown Greensboro. A similar paint color, the same style of exposed, unfinished wood beams on the exterior. But this building isn’t undergoing a facelift to house a forthcoming hip restaurant or brewpub. In fact, the new tenant is pretty similar to the old one.

SONY DSCCenter City Church, whose building was demolished as part of developer Roy Carroll’s Bellemeade Village project, is moving into the building after temporarily holding its meetings at the downtown Marriott, said Vernon Powell, the registered agent for building owner Roseland Investment.

The church is taking over the remaining 18-month lease from Christ Church, the former tenant, which outgrew the space and is relocating to another downtown property several blocks east. Center City Church is responsible for the renovations, he said.

SONY DSCRoseland also owns the adjacent 422 and 424 Edgeworth Street properties, and does have long-term designs for the area “for office space with maybe a high-end restaurant on the ground floor or something like that,” Powell said.

“The site is certainly targeted to be developed,” he said. “The economy will dictate the timing of that.”

But for now, it’s existing downtown churches playing musical chairs.

  • Dan Colvin

    You say it like it’s a bad thing, sure it could be (another) restaurant or (another) office building or (another) bar or (another) brewpub or (another) whatever… The fact is, it’s not just (another), There’s more!

    But you never asked me.

  • Sherri Colvin

    There is actually an art gallery (Gallery 320) and a retail coffee shop going in the front space…we leased the space! Call us and ask us about it!!

    • Very interesting. Not sure why the owners (I talked to Powell and George Carr) didn’t seem to know that.

      • Sherri Colvin

        I can’t answer for Mr. Powell but he does know the plans. If you would like to know more, please contact us. We would be happy to share the details. Since the renovations started (3 weeks ago) we’ve been meeting curious neighbors stopping in, they are very excited to hear about a coffee shop/art gallery within walking distance from Greenway.

  • If you think that’s just another church, how about visiting on Sunday morning and seeing for yourself?

    • I appreciate the invitation. If there’s going to be a coffee shop as Sherri Colvin commented, I will stop in to check that out. Please also send us information about any art shows once the gallery is open.

      • gail pannell

        Wow! What an amazing job on this building! Makes the whole block look so much better! Great job Center City Church!! Gail Pannell

      • Sherri Colvin

        Eric,
        Thank you! Here is a little info about the upcoming show at Gallery 320…
        December 1st the “Courage II: Finding Courage in Art” exhibit will go up (this is a 60 piece show) collaborative with over 20 artists represented.

        This show will be on display at The Center for Creative Leadership on August 28th from 5-7 pm, the next show will be at Gallery 320 in December.

        Friday evening, December 11th Gallery 320 is sponsoring “A Gift to the City, An Evening of Art & Music”
        Courage II will be on display, along with musical guests, Songs of Water. Also performing, Violinist Marta Richardson and the Peeler School fifth & sixth grade violin students, and more!
        We will be sure and get you further information as the date approaches!

  • Walt Hill

    If one church outgrew it and moved on, allowing another to move in and grow out of it, that means the faith base in Greensboro is expanding. Since every reliable study on the subject shows that people of faith are happier, healthier, and better citizens it seems something for us all to be happy about. At least it’s a far better indicator of community health than another bar or brewery.

  • I’ve personally seen the art of Gallery 320 it’s moving and impactful. I am also very excited for the coffee shop! Great job guys on the building it looks awesome.

  • Barbara Kimber

    If I could put a title to this response it would be, “Awaiting for Failure”. Wow! Mr. Ginsburg you sir have been given the wrong impression (hoodwinked) on some refined details concerning the building and new proprietors on 421 W. Smith St. That beautiful facility is history in the making. This sir is not just another building and neither is it just another church playing musical chairs awaiting for the music to abruptly stop. Oh no, this building that you so beautifully displayed in your article is the complementary music to the surrounding businesses and public housing in that area. Please don’t be fooled by what you think is a commonplace. Make no mistake, there is MORE! “You risk a critical misunderstanding when you hear and believe only a single story about another person”, or in this case place (Chimamanda Adichie). Mr. Ginsburg you made some strong stereotypical remarks based on someone else’s opinion. You made irrational assumptions without gathering more information about the building and new proprietors. This building has another story attached to it. Yet, it takes a strong, open minded person who’s willing to go after the other story or might I say the ACCURATE STORY. With that said, Mr. Ginsburg I encourage you to find out the new proprietor’s aspirations, and intentions for the new “Hip Building” on 421 W. Smith St. Instead of promoting the views and position of persons that lack subtlety and insight, go inquire about the other part of this story. There is MORE! Barbara Kimber

  • Erica

    It wouldn’t hurt the Grasshoppers to have some more prayer going on around them if you know what I mean!

  • Amber Stone

    Mr. Gibsburg, I would like to thank you for the attention you have brought to this building. It’s becoming a huge issue in downtown of “just another” type of things being built and I believe everyone should be made aware of this one building in particular because it is not one of those types of buildings at all. This building is indeed a church, but it’s also more. It’s a gallery full of amazing artist who are up and coming and well established in the art community. It hosts workshops on all sorts of creative ideas that allow anyone to join and find passion in what they love. It’s a community or artisans, musicians, teachers, leaders, innovators, writers, craftsman, poets, helpers, friends, family and more. It’s also has a school that runs through a third year with as much support towards your dreams as a family would give, even an internship if possible. This school saves, recognizes and developes lives in who you are as a person. You could always visit and see for yourself if you’re open to it. No, it’s not a hip brewery or restaurant that will rotate buildibgs when it becomes unable to accommodate those who attend; it’s a church that has now outgrown its building twice already and has a heart for the area. Every building Will be outgrown, no matter what’s inside, if people willingly and happily attend what it offers. Look at Ham’s for example. It is more than a building, more than Just another church and more than your article displays. It’s a place that teaches how to be you and be better in all ways of your life. Would you have written this the same way if it were a community help center, a school, a gallery, a coffee house, a crafter work house fir the public, a place of community? Because that’s exactly what we are. Would love if you would join us one day with an open mind to what we have to offer.

  • Heather

    I have attended Center City Church at 2 of its previous locations. I can tell you, from very personal experiences, that CCC isn’t just “another” church. Because of my husband’s musical involvement at other area places of worship, we don’t get to be there often; but every time we go it’s a heart and mind opening experience.

  • John A. Smith

    Or IS it Mr. Ginsburg?!

    Until experiencing the food/drinks, service and atmosphere can anyone truly give an accurate review of a restaurant, brewpub or even a coffee shop? Like others before me, I would also like to extend an invitation to you to join us when you have the opportunity! Please bring your family and friends too!! Come and take (another) closer look at WHO Center City Church is; not just our hip new building.

    As far as looking aesthetically similar to our neighbors Crafted, I’d say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Thier new establishment is beautifully designed!

  • Dave

    The problem, speaking only from an economic perspective, is the growth of non-profit entities in GSO. Most are tax-exempt and that shifts more of a burden to tax-paying residents and businesses.

  • Sherri Colvin

    Dave, you are exactly right. That is why we have chosen to open the coffee bar as a business; one that will help build the tax base of the city. We love Greensboro and want to see our city thrive economically and hopefully change mindsets of being just (another) non-profit.