Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church

Religious / Virginia

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


Sources

  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.