1433 East 33rd Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Historical Name: Saint Josaphat Parish Church
Architect: Unknown; A. F. Wasielewski Co. Contractor
Design Consultant: Frank Piccirillo, City of Cleveland Storefront Renovation Program
Construction Dates: 1915
Date of Closure: 1998
Date of Reuse: 2005
In 2002, Alenka Banco and Nick Tadic purchased St. Josaphat and rehabbed it as a community center focused on the arts with a hall for social events, concerts and weddings; an art gallery and studio-workshop spaces. The rectory and convent have been taken over, respectively, by Banco and Tadic for their businesses. They both had grown up in this area and approached the Cleveland Catholic Diocese about acquiring the building when it became available. When acquired, the building was badly deteriorated. A new roof, including fascia, gutters and downspouts; exterior repairs and resurfacing of the concrete front steps; replacement of the front doors and hardware, new landscaping, lighting and a parking area were essential initial projects, along with a new boiler, toilet rooms and window insulation. The water damaged ceiling was repaired and repainted, woodwork repaired and the maple wood floors refinished. The challenge was to reuse a sacred landmark in a marginal, inner-city neighborhood as a viable commercial and arts center.
Funding for the complex was accomplished with the help of the diocese, which provided a lease-purchase contract for $185,000. The diocese holds 75% of the mortgage. This relieved the buyers of the need for a bank loan to buy the property and has allowed them to focus on the estimated $500,000 needed for rehabilitation. Josaphat Arts Hall / Convivium 33 Gallery has transformed an abandoned eyesore into a center of activity that draws customers from throughout the Northeast Ohio region and has returned a sense of pride to the neighborhood.
The Saint Josaphat Parish dates its origins to 1908, serving a growing number of Polish immigrants in the St. Clair –Superior neighborhood of central Cleveland. The church was constructed in 1915 and two adjacent buildings, a rectory and a convent, provided support for the local community’s spiritual needs. A wind storm in 1938 caused serious damage which strained the parish finances. In the post-WWII years, the neighborhood saw a significant out-migration as more and more residents left for the suburbs. In 1998 it was closed and desanctified. It remained vacant for the next several years, its fabric continuing to deteriorate.