Print
Real Estate - Commercial

Homebuilder Transforming Former Church Structure Into Office

By Cece Nunn, posted Nov 25, 2020
The last service at Pearsall Memorial Presbyterian Church, a Wilmington house of worship built more than 100 years ago, took place in June 2019. On a recent weekday this year, the whir and pop of saws and nails by crews working for a local homebuilder emanated from the 3-acre property on Market Street.

Wilmington-based PBC Design + Build’s creations typically provide custom spaces for other people, but this time, the church project is transforming part of local history into the firm’s future home.

Crews are working on making the former fellowship hall at Pearsall Memorial Presbyterian Church, 3902 Market St., into a new office for PBC Design + Build. Unlike the church sanctuary, which dates back to 1913, the fellowship hall was built in the 1970s.

“We’ve built hundreds of amazing custom homes for our clients, but we’ve never really had the opportunity to build a space for ourselves, some place that allows us to work for us for the next 20 years,” said Dave Spetrino, president of PBC. “For years we’ve been saving ideas and imagining ‘what we would do’ when given an opportunity to have a clean slate like this. So while we won’t modify the footprint or exterior walls, we’re doing everything else.”

That includes opening up the steel truss ceiling, bringing in light through a clerestory (a kind of raised skylight) at the ridge line and then creating workspaces, Spetrino explained.

“The rectangular space with its high ceilings is wide open, completely barrier-free,” Spetrino said of the fellowship hall. “Designed by Leslie Boney Jr. in the late 1960s, it has this terrific mid-century modern feel without becoming a distraction to the adjacent historic sanctuary.

“It’s also probably one of the best-built concrete and metal buildings we’ve seen locally – the guys who built this weren’t messing around.”

Other parts of the building will also be reused.

“There is a stage inside that will be fun to repurpose and having this high, clear span of open space is like a blank canvas,” Spetrino said. “We can showcase our work but also establish a space that not only increases our efficiency as a team but also encourages more creativity across our projects.”

The sanctuary and other buildings that were added to and grew up around the church over the years will be preserved, Spetrino said.

Giving a tour of the sanctuary, where pristine pews are wrapped in plastic, Spetrino said he could see the structure one day becoming an event venue or destination restaurant like Indochine, a popular eatery north of the Pearsall property on Market Street.

So while the firm plans to fully use the 4,200 square feet in the fellowship hall, “we have no concrete plans for the sanctuary and other gathering spaces within the main church areas. We have some ideas but no clear path other than to ‘preserve and protect,’” said Spetrino, who also said he’s not in a hurry to make plans for the space other than preservation.

PBC Design + Build is moving from its current home of 314 Walnut St. (since 2012) in downtown Wilmington, likely in April or May.

To read more about the project, check out the Dec. 4 print edition of the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Jessiepowellheadshot webversion

5 Reasons to Build Custom Franchise Software

Jessie Powell - Wide Open Tech
Tommytaylor ceo unitedway

I Got 99 Problems But a 501(c)(3) Ain’t One

Tommy Taylor - United Way
Picture1 12522112034

Commercial Roof Spring Cleaning Checklist

Jeanette Omdalen - Highland Roofing Company

Trending News

After County Plea, Treasurer ‘neutral’ On Whether Project Grace Gets Vote Next Meeting

Johanna F. Still - Aug 8, 2022

Three Locals And One Distillery Compete In Statewide Chef Showdown

Jenny Callison - Aug 8, 2022

New Hanover Community Endowment To Share Details On Grant Criteria

Staff Reports - Aug 8, 2022

In The Current Issue

Borrowers Seek Adjustable-rate Perks

During recent years when interest rates were at rock-bottom levels, borrowers have kept adjustable-rate mortgages at arm’s length. But now,...


Film On Rebound; New Horse Enters Race

New soundstages in Wilmington are set to be constructed toward the end of the year – marking activity that appears hasn’t happened since the...


Commercial Tenants Navigate Rent Spikes

One of the realities small businesses throughout the area face when trying to find commercial space, which also include increasing rents and...

Book On Business

The 2022 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

Trying to Grow a Business?
2020 Health Care Heroes
2020 WilmingtonBiz 100