The Community Action Southold Town, Inc., a North Fork non-profit currently based in Greenport, announced plans earlier this week to purchase a former church that already has a history of being used as a community building.
CAST, as it is known, has been serving low-income members of the North Fork community since 1965 by offering programs and services, such as a food pantry, computer classes, and an early childhood literacy program. The non-profit organization will now have a permanent home at 53930 Route 25 in the heart of Southold.
“After searching for an appropriate home for CAST for many years, this property is a dream realized, providing all we need to serve the North Fork community while also offering cultural and arts opportunities for all to enjoy,” Marc Sokol, the CAST board president, said in a statement.
The 1.2-acre property, which also holds a two-story house, the former church parsonage, is in contract for $2.8 million, according to Cathy Demeroto, the executive director.
It went on the market in January for $3.395 million with Douglas Sabo of Nest Seekers International.
We hear Bridget Elkin of Compass represented CAST pro bono and having her commission go towards the purchase price of the property.
CAST hopes to close by September.
The main building, a 9,052-square-foot space with a steeple, was once the home of the Southold Methodist Church and later became the Southold Opera House, which purchased in 2015 for $1.025 million.Though the building dates to the late 1700s and underwent updates over the years, it was “the extensive renovation and preservation work that Southold Opera did to the building is what is allowing it to live on for years to come,” Sabo says. “It’s an incredibly unique space and I am so happy to see it will continue to be apart of the Southold community.”
According to the statement, it has enough space for all of the essential programs and services CAST offers, along with parking.
The former house of worship was described in the Nest Seekers’ listing as having two levels. “A grand auditorium” upstairs with a street access and “soaring stained-glass windows, a cathedral ceiling, a beautiful stage and room for up to 220 people.” Then there is “an elegant ballroom” big enough for 100 people “with glittering chandeliers and grand arched windows.” The main building also has a kitchen with its own entrance.
Downstairs, the building holds a dance studio with a waiting room, a dressing room, and a separate access to the 30-spot parking lot, plus a library, storage, two bathrooms, and even a space for a potential apartment, the listing said.
The former parsonage, to the east of the church, has been renovated and offers 2,193 square feet of space with three bedrooms, four full bathrooms and one-half bath.
In the announcement CAST announced their new space would be able to hold “a larger food pantry and sharing room for clothing and household items, room for essential education programs for both children and adults, private meeting/interview spaces, a teaching kitchen for culinary and hospitality training, and a community garden to grow fresh food.”
“We look forward to finally opening our doors as the CAST Community Resource Center – continuing to work with our partners, friends and clients, while also meeting and serving new neighbors,” Demeroto said. “Even our name will take on new meaning as CAST will transition to become the Center for Advocacy, Support and Transformation.”
This is not the first property, or former church for that matter, that CAST has tried to buy. In August 2020, the non-profit abandoned its plans after it thought it found a new home at the Greenport United Methodist Church, but was met with strong resistance from neighbors.
Last August, CAST hoped to move from its small headquarters on Front Street in Greenport to the former Greenport United Methodist Church around the corner on Main Street in the village.