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On Castle St., Former Church Leased For Yoga Classes

By Cece Nunn, posted Jul 13, 2016
The building that was formerly a church and more recently an antique store on Castle Street will soon be home to yoga classes. (Photo courtesy of Terry Espy/MoMentum Companies)
Three yoga instructors have leased a former church on Castle Street to bring yoga classes and other events to the area.

Jackie DeConti, Alexis Abbate and Becca Niamtu plan to open Terra Sol Sanctuary at 507 Castle St. this summer, with a grand opening celebration set for 6-9 p.m. July 29, DeConti said Wednesday.

"Several months ago, we had the idea of opening a space, but we all kind of knew things would happen in the right timing. If it was meant to be, it would happen," she said.

Then Niamtu found the former church, which had also previously held an antiques store, listed for lease online. 

"It felt like everything just kind of fell into place at the right time," DeConti said.

The three signed a three-year lease in a transaction brokered by Terry Espy, president of commercial development and real estate brokerage firm MoMentum Companies.

The plan for Terra Sol Sanctuary is to hold about seven classes a day Monday through Thursday and six on Friday, with a Friday evening slot reserved for special events such as once-a-month tango dancing instruction, for example, DeConti said. For most classes, students will be required to pay $10 in cash to attend.

On Saturday mornings at 9, instructors who have graduated from DeConti's and Niamtu's Yoga for the Planet yoga school will lead donation-based classes that will benefit a different nonprofit organization each month, DeConti said.

The space will also be used for more advanced classes geared toward existing yoga instructors, she said. Including the founders, DeConti said about 15 yoga instructors are expected to be involved in the sanctuary.

The three founders chose Castle Street because of the Castle Street Arts & Antiques District's vibe, she said. 

"We love how the downtown community seems like it's really thriving, and there's a lot of really good things coming downtown, and we're just excited to be a part of that," DeConti said.

The first regular day of classes at the sanctuary is planned to be Aug. 1, with free classes expected to be held at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. July 30-31. 

The church, which includes about 1,450 square feet of space, was originally built around 1900, according to New Hanover County property tax records. A former Wilmington resident, Cheryl Luse, bought the property for $175,000 at the end of last year.

The yoga group's presence is expected to help Castle Street with ongoing revitalization efforts, Espy said, bringing in more foot traffic and therefore more potential customers for the retail businesses and restaurants in the district.

"Her focus was to bring in a tenant that helps transition Castle Street to the next phase," Espy said of Luse.

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