Echo Church to remain in Castle building; Yoga Tribe owner to head new arts group

An earlier version of this article indicated that Yoga Tribe was no longer in business. Heather Sampson continues to offer yoga classes.

(ABC 6 News) — Several longstanding questions from Rochester’s arts community are close to being answered.

What’s going to happen to the Castle? Will Echo Church remain in the building? And who has replaced Threshold Arts as the LLC’s favored arts/entertainment organization?

The owners’ new proposal, obtained via open record request to the City of Rochester, keeps Echo Church in the building, while a new arts organization called Amplify Arts moves in to program concerts and community events.

Near the beginning of the pandemic, as theater and music shut down, the Castle Community owners signed a year-long lease with Echo Church to use the building for services and regular meetings between Sept. 2020 and 2021.

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The owners extended that lease into October, then November of 2021. They received a 60-day order to come back into compliance with the original sale agreement from the City, which specified that the building would be used for arts and cultural purposes for the first five years of .

The owners asked for, and received a three-month extension, giving them until the end of March to find a solution.

Amplify Arts, operated by Yoga Tribe owner Heather Sampson and Six Mile Grove band member Brandon Sampson, was first mentioned in Castle co-owner Scott Hoss’ December 2021 extension request to to the City of Rochester.

Previously, Rochester nonprofit Threshold Arts occupied much of the second floor of the Castle Community, programmed activities in Les Fields Hall, and rented studio spaces to local artists.

Threshold Arts founder Naura Anderson received approval to operate in the long-vacant Chateau Theater in January.

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According to Hoss’ most recent proposal, the two tenants will work with the building owners to operate a coffee shop, book store, and recording studio, as well as program community activities on the second and third floors of the Castle.

The second floor will, according to the proposal, be open to the public 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.

Those hours may be modified "as needed to best serve the patrons’ and building occupants’ needs."

Amplify Arts and Echo Church will also occupy three to four studio spaces on the second floor.

The Sampsons, as Amplify Arts, will be responsible for booking the third-floor community room and Les Fields Hall.

Michael Busch of Paramark Real Estate Services sent the updated proposel to Rochester’s City Council on Feb. 16.

The City Attorney’s team are still working on a final proposal, Jennifer Kellogg with the City Clerk’s office said.

The full letter is embedded below.

Michael Busch Letter to City of Rochester (2/16/22) by Anne Halliwell on Scribd