Nova Scotia

Sydney church to become performance space

St. Andrews Church in Sydney has been sold and the new owner plans on turning it into a space for the performing arts.

Historic church sold to local musician

St. Andrews Church in Sydney is going to be turned into a performance space. The sale closes September 23, the sale pice of the building hasn't been released. (Yvonne Leblanc-Smith/CBC)

St. Andrews Church in Sydney has been sold and the new owner plans on turning it into a space for the performing arts.

The 104-year-old church was decommissioned just two months ago, but the congregation said it saw the writing on the wall months before and put feelers out for a buyer.

That's when Kevin Colford, a local musician and businessman, stepped forward.

His offer was the only credible one, so the dwindling congregation jumped on it to avoid another winter of empty seats and climbing fuel bills.

Colford said he envisions the building housing a variety of performers who will take advantage of the building's acoustics.

"I don't think a lot of people know how sweet the sound is," he said.

Colford will keep the 3,000 piece pipe organ but renovate the front of the church to accommodate theatre productions, dance recitals, lectures, musical performances and recordings.

"So the stage has the ability to record a band live and put it on a CD and then they have a demo."

Concert promoter, Stephen Tobin said Sydney could benefit from a 400 to 500 seat concert hall.

"I think as it relates specifically to St. Andrews, it's such a beautiful you know historic property and building that it would be a highly sought after venue for small to medium size performances," said Tobin.

Colford won't say how much he paid for the church.

But he acknowledges it will cost a lot to renovate it.

"Probably $700,000 and its definitely over five and the more you study obviously the more it climbs. So is it possible? Absolutely. Do we compromise? Really don't want to. Is it going to be feasible? I believe it would be," said Colford.

The closing date for the sale is Sept. 23.

Colford said he hopes to have a grand opening in Oct. 2014.

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