Syracuse couple invests in their community: Looking to turn old church into new event center

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — On the Southside of Syracuse lies a beautiful architectural building that was used as a church for over 100 years, but now the former South Presbyterian Church is about to be transformed into an event space that the community can be proud of.

“The vibe we are going for is a vibe of sophistication, a vibe of elegance,” Evelyn Ingram, co-owner of The Castle, said. “We almost want to make you feel as if you’re in an urban city. So, we’re looking to really have a metropolitan feel that people will recognize that, ‘Wow, this is an edifice. This is a facility that resides right on the Southside of Syracuse.’”

It’s an inspiring vision, but the Ingrams have a long way to go.

The couple recently purchased the South Presbyterian Church on South Salina Street, but the church hasn’t been used in almost 15 years. So, the Ingrams have several renovations to do before it becomes, as they call it, The Castle. 

“What we are looking to do is to make this space an event space,” Evelyn Ingram said. “So, therefore, there will be opportunities for organizations to rent this space for their events, as well as we would be hosting events as well.”

The Ingrams are looking to bring something unique to the Southside of Syracuse by hosting an array of events, from weddings and galas to luncheons and banquet dinners. The couple also hopes to make connections within the community all along the way. 

“So, we just want to bring the community together, have it be something that they can go to and be proud of. We want to be proud of our event, and we want to be proud of our project,” Chino Ingram, co-owner of The Castle, said. “So, we just want to bring the community together as much as we can, and have something to really enjoy and call our own.”

In order to bring The Castle to life, it will cost about $7 million, but it’s something Chino Ingram is determined to do after he grew up right around the corner from the former church. 

The most important part is when you get to a certain point, give back. Show the people that the chasing and the yelling and the stuff you used to do when I was a kid paid off. We understand what they were trying to do as kids, and the adults in the neighborhood, and this is how it pays off. It pays off with showing people that you’re proud to be from the Southside, but it also shows that I didn’t come to the South Side, not to give back to the Southside, and that’s what this whole project is about.

Chino Ingram, Co-Owner of The Castle

There is no strict deadline for the project to be completed, but the Ingrams are hoping to have The Castle open in about two years. 

Below is some history about the former South Presbyterian Church:

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