Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church

Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church

The Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church is an abandoned church in Virginia.






The ground was broken for the Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church in January 1947, 11 and the Byzantine-style sanctuary was completed in 1949. 1 A new $1.6 million church, designed by architect Forrest W. Coile with Steven P. Papadatos serving as a consulting architect, was constructed between July 1981 3 and 1982. 2

The vacated church building was proposed to be renovated into two restaurants at the cost of $1.5 million 7 as part of the ambitious 10-year, $276 million Newport Centre redevelopment project. 5 6 The project was proposed by the Carley Capital Group in 1982 and included the renovation of the former church building, townhomes, an apartment building, an office tower, a judicial center, a cultural center, and a parking garage.

Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church was offered two deals for its vacated downtown structure by the city: $180,000 if the structure could be used as restaurants, $75,000 if it could not be. 4 The two offers came after objections from some members of the church who were concerned about plans. The $75,000 was based on the value of the land while the $180,000 figure was based on appraisals of both the land and building. The church countered with a proposal of $390,000, or $250,000 if the city restricted the building’s reuse to a museum or a library, 9 which was rejected by the city. 10 The former Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church building was condemned and the property sold to the local Redevelopment and Housing Authority for $180,000 in April 1985. But by 1986, the Newport Centre project was in jeopardy of collapse as two federal urban development action grants had been twice denied, and a hold was put on federal money the city expected to use to acquire property for Newport Centre. 6

Still holding out hope for the derelict church to be repurposed into a restaurant or into another use, the city proposed repairing the roof and covering broken windows at the cost of $80,000 in 2001. 11 The project was expanded in scope which required the replacement of the roof and cupola in 2002 at the cost of $265,000. 12






Further Reading


Sources

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  1. Reid, Roberta G., and Martha W. McCartney. City of Newport News, 1990, p. 76, Reconnaissance Survey of Historic Architecture.
  2. Black, Jonathan. “Newport News Greek Festival turns 50.” Daily Press [Newport News], 27 May 2017.
  3. “Peninsula.” Daily Press [Newport News], 18 Jul. 1981, p. 7.
  4. Hayden, Susan. “Church to have $105,000 choice.” Daily Press [Newport News], 21 Dec. 1984, p. C8.
  5. Hayden, Susan. “Centre grant application before council tonight.” Daily Press [Newport News], 31 Oct. 1983, p. 14.
  6. Smith, Randolph P. “City to review Newport Centre today.” Daily Press [Newport News], 10 Jun. 1986, p. A1-A6.
  7. Cook, Nancy. “City struggles to assemble Newport Centre puzzle.” Daily Press [Newport News], 6 Apr. 1986, pp. A1-A4.
  8. Griffith, Linda. “Performance Planned Come Rain or Shine.” Daily Press [Newport News], 20 May 1983, p. 26.
  9. Hayden, Susan. “City offers $180,000 for church building.” Daily Press [Newport News], 13 Nov. 1984, p. B2.
  10. “Property Transfers.” Daily Press [Newport News], 27 Apr. 1985, p. E6.
  11. Carroll, Fred. “NN has hopes for church.” Daily Press [Newport News], 17 Jan. 2001, p. C1-C2.
  12. “Topping it off.” Daily Press [Newport News], 15 Mar. 2002, p. C3.

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