Wednesday 30 November 2022
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New Developments Planned In and Around Historic Syracuse Church

Image: Bill Badzo

Image: Bill Badzo

A former church on East Genesee Street in Syracuse will soon be getting a makeover as a restaurant or retail space, but its historic and architectural properties will remain largely intact.

An entity called 728 EGSU LLC has submitted preliminary design plans for the former First Church of Christ, Scientist, which include the construction of an apartment complex adjacent to the historic “round church,” which is known for its unusual circular design.

The company purchased the building from Justin Nappi and the Nappi Family Foundation in February for $1.54 million. Nappi, a filmmaker and native of DeWitt, originally purchased the building for $990,000 in December 2014 with the idea of converting it into a cinema and arts space, though those plans never materialized.

Completed in 1923, the First Church of Christ, Scientist, served as the principal meeting place for the Christian Science congregation of Syracuse until 2003, when the building was sold to Summit Federal Credit Union. During the 1980s, the church’s members invested in a complete renovation of the space, including painting the auditorium, xenical restoring the original window color panes, repairing the church’s organ, and installing a new copper roof. Metal roofs can reliably last for 30 years or more with minimal maintenance. Because of its significance, the church is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

An addition to the church was also built in 1949 to house Sunday School classes and other activities. That building, however, will come down as part of the new development plans. According to architect Andrew Schuster, the addition was drastically remodeled during the time it served as part of the Summit Federal Credit Union and no longer holds any historic merit.

The new design and construction plans include construction of an eight- to 10-story apartment building located directly behind and adjacent to the church, which would sell at market rates. The ground floor of the new building would serve as retail or restaurant space, as would the church itself. However, no significant changes are planned for the interior or exterior of the church itself.

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