DELPHI — Work on renovating the Delphi Opera House is pushing one business to close temporarily and another to move a block away.
Garden Gate Tea House at 107 S. Washington St., in the center storefront below the third-story opera house, will close beginning next week while furnishings and other elements of the tea house are moved to its new location at 101 W. Franklin St., just a few dozen feet up the road.
The tea room’s new location was an antique store for several years before a short-lived wooden toy shop occupied the space, according to Carroll County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Julia Leahy.
“We’re thrilled that she’s going to be able to continue,” Leahy said.
Owner Denise Strasser, wife of Delphi Mayor Randy Strasser, hopes to reopen the tea room around Jan. 15, 2014.
The move came sooner than Strasser had expected when she opened the tea room in April 2012 — at the time, she had known that opera house renovations would force her to seek a new location, but she’d estimated a wait of at least three years based on the outlook at the time for raising funds for the renovations.
The city’s receipt of a Stellar Communities grant last year put the opera house project — and the tea room’s move — in the fast lane.
The Delphi Preservation Society, which owns the opera house, is in the middle of raising $300,000 to match a $200,000 challenge grant from the Jeffris Family Foundation in Wisconsin. The organization has garnered more than $200,000 toward the match, and has until midyear 2015 to raise the rest, according to Anita Werling, who chairs the DPS Opera House Advisory Board.
Werling anticipates finishing the fundraising long before then because “we really need to be finished off to be able to use this money,” she said. The Jeffris challenge funds can’t be spent until the match is raised.
DPS is scheduled to go out to bid on the opera house project in February with an expected construction start date in mid-to-late March.
The grant and matching funds will cover about a third of the cost of restoring the opera house and building the planned new wing, Werling said. The rest will come from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority in the form of a “bridge loan” of up to $1.5 million.
Just before construction gets under way, another store located on the first floor of the opera house building will close temporarily until structural reinforcements below, in and above that storefront are in place.
“It’s kind of put me in limbo,” boutique owner Jennifer Crowel said of the upcoming construction. MarthaRose Gifts and Interiors at 105 S. Washington St. is likely to be closed for about two months, she said.
Closing and reopening dates aren’t known yet, Crowel said, because of construction variables, but she plans to notify customers via text message and email newsletters of those dates as they’re set.
Since Crowel bought the shop in the spring, business has gone well, she said, and she hopes her customers — most of whom drive in from out of town — will be patient while the store is closed.
“I’m not going anywhere else,” Crowel said.
The rest of the construction work on the opera house will likely last into 2015, Werling said. The opera house’s gallery of contemporary art in the third storefront of the opera house building closed after a final reception Saturday and will reopen in its temporary location, the former Delphi United Methodist Church at the corner of Monroe and Union streets.
Werling anticipates reopening the gallery at the former church around the last Saturday in January, where it’ll remain until the opera house renovations are finished.
Sarah Einselen is news editor at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-732-5151. Twitter: @PharosSME