An Introduction

You perhaps haven’t thought of the Nevada City area in this way but, for many people, the general area is considered to have a highly spiritual vibration. For those interested in spiritual development, it is as important a spiritual pilgrimage spot as cities such as Ojai, Mt. Shasta and Sedona. That spiritual tradition probably began thousands of years ago, blessed by the river and hills and forests, and the Native American community that called it their home. Even today, it is strongly maintained through the services of such organizations as Inner Path, Ananda Village, the Sivananda Ashram, Ring of Bone Zendo, Mountain Stream and numerous Christian and other spiritual and serviceful organizations in the local area.

I have thought of the idea of a Whole Life Center for so many years that it seems commonplace. In fact, however, it’s a cutting-edge concept that, to the best of my knowledge, has not been developed in this manner anywhere in the United States.

Generally speaking, a Whole Life Center strives to meet the needs of the LOHAS community. LOHAS stands for Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability/Spirituality

Our Intention

In Nevada City, our goal would be to develop the Alpha building at 210 Broad Street into a Whole Life Center; a busy, beautiful, uplifting and serviceful center featuring vegetarian restaurants, quality products that support body, mind and soul, a multi-disciplinary holistic wellness center, a venue for spiritual and health oriented classes and events, and many other important services.

One of the primary purposes of the Whole Life Center is to create a hub for those interested in the ideals of a balanced and supported body, mind and soul. This would be done in coordination with a new website being developed called Conscious Community Nevada County. This website is meant to bring together the local LOHAS community by being the focal point for their services, events and ideas. The website,, is expected to go “live” this September or October.

Additionally, the Whole Life Center would strive to become the center point for numerous new events meant to strengthen and enliven the LOHAS community. This includes such projects as publishing a website and booklet entitled, Sacred Sites of Nevada County, developing a School of Sacred Music, and hosting a series of annual events and concerts such as a World Peace Day, a Sacred Music Festival, a Christmas Music Celebration, a county wide Yoga Festival, and a Holistic Health Festival. Other ideas include special Meditation Events such as a “Weekend of Prayer” and group cleanses based on Ayurvedic and other health principles.

The Center would also proactively develop a number of services that support the community-at-large. This includes being available to host private and public meetings, such as weddings, club meetings and special discussions and events. It is also meant, if needed, to serve as an emergency shelter during floods, fires and other incapacitating events. We offer this idea, because the Center will have a professional kitchen, showers and bathrooms, and event rooms that can easily be made into an emergency center or a place for sleeping and other needs.

Additionally, we hope to expand our present services to the local homeless community. Our small free shelf which offers food, clothing, books and other items, would be expanded to become a “Free Store” of approximately 200 sq. feet. The restaurant would provide free meals on a daily basis. If able, we would also provide showers, storage lockers, holistic health services, and opportunities for the homeless to be of service to the Whole Life Center.

Concept Ideas

Listed below is a description of what this project may look like.

The Alpha Building
The Alpha building was built in 1917 and is one of the largest and most visible buildings in downtown Nevada City. Its three floors encompass over 21,000 sq. ft. Its first tenant was the Alpha Hardware Store. Its most recent use was Broad Street Furnishings which closed in 2008 after a run of 31 years. It is presently for sale for $2,250,000.

Main Floor – Food Court and Retail Products – 8,000 sq. ft.
The food court would specialize in vegetarian fare and would be made up of 2 or more food venues, including a sit-down restaurant and take-out food service. It could be that food is served in a “cafeteria style” format. The food court may be cooperatively run by a number of chefs and would be open 7 days a week. The kitchen would also be used to serve meals for large events that occur in the downstairs event space. Seating would be available both indoors and out.

The retail side would include a much more expanded version of what Inner Path presently offers and would allow a much broader display of candles, incense, note cards, musical instruments, Native American products and other items. New products would include furniture, a much wider selection of clothing, a larger jewelry section, and a flower and plant display that would probably include outdoor fountains and statuary.

Other amenities on the main floor include a children’s play area, a large resource board, and a “Free Store” with clothing and numerous other items offered to anyone in need.

Separating the restaurant and boutique, would be a large light and water sculpture that would reach as high as the Top Floor. The sculpture itself would be so beautiful and magnetic that it would be a primary reason some people enter the building. Beyond its visual beauty, one purpose of the sculpture is to make an energetic, visual and audio break between the food court and the boutique.

Other uses on the main floor would include an office, stock room, utility closet, bathrooms, etc.

One goal of the Inner Path side of the boutique, is to greatly expand the educational aspect of the displays. New displays would include tables on Islam, Sufism, yoga, meditation and pranayama, and include important discussions on such subjects as the purpose of meditation, its form in all religions, and the various methods that lead to higher consciousness.

Lastly, Inner Path is already known as a place of great beauty and peace. The new design would be like entering a place of peace, beauty and joy that many people will have never experienced before.

Top Floor – Multidisciplinary Wellness Center and Meditation Rooms – 5,600 sq. ft.
This is primarily a holistic health center with multiple healing rooms of different configurations. Some are available on a “by the hour” basis, but most will be leased by a variety of health service practitioners. The rooms would have specialty uses. For example, the room for Chinese Medicine could be operated cooperatively by a group of acupuncture and shiatsu practitioners, and have useful diagrams on the wall and other touches that support their specific discipline. Other disciplines (many of which are already in practice at Inner Path) could include ayurvedic practices, massage, chiropractic and osteopathic services, hypnotherapy, counseling, iridology, energy healing (ex; Reiki and Pranic healing), and a reader’s room for astrologers, psychics and spiritual counselors. Our hope is that the Wellness Center will include the services of a holistic oriented M.D. with the ability to accept Medicare and health insurance, as well as provide referrals to the other health care services that are available.

The upstairs area would also include two or three meditation rooms. These would be designed to honor the primary religious faiths of our time. One room, for example, could have a Hindu and Buddhist theme and could include statuary and thangkas, Tibetan singing bowls and an area for a Japanese Tea Ceremony. Other rooms could be designed to honor Judaism and Christianity, Native American culture, or other themes.

The area of the top floor that looks out onto Broad Street would be a sitting area for those wanting to read books, or work on their computers, and would include space for art exhibits and other special presentations.

Additional use of the upstairs space includes a front desk for incoming wellness clients, a meeting room for healthcare classes, a staff room, storage area, and a bathroom with shower for those who have had massages or Ayurvedic Shirodhara.

Bottom Floor – Event Center and Health Spa – 8,000 sq. ft
The event center would consist of four large rooms each with their own specialty. As needed, you would have the ability to move the interior walls and open the area into one large space. When combined as one, the rooms would be big enough to accommodate events of 250 to 300 people. One thought, to give the rooms a sense of unity, would be to have a large labyrinth drawn on the floor that goes into each of the four rooms, or to have each room honor one of the four directions. It might also have a long continuous photo that goes the circumference of the rooms, depicting the entire length of the Yuba River. Some of the specialty uses of the rooms could include a yoga studio, a dance studio, and two general event rooms. The facility would include a stage and state-of-the-art sound and light system.

The downstairs would also have a reception area to receive visitors and guests to events and classes, as well as a bathroom, shower and locker room area, a kitchen/food service space, and storage space for tables, chairs and other items.

If room allows, a health spa would be along the periphery of the bottom floor, and could include a sauna, hot tub, flotation tank, salt therapy room, lap pool and fitness room.

We envision the event rooms to become an important community meeting area for the downtown Nevada City community, as well as a major event space with nationally recognized teachers and musicians whose focus aligns with the LOHAS theme. We also see it being used as an emergency center, providing food, housing and bathrooms in time of need, as well as serving the needs of the homeless community.


Food Court -Vegetarian, Organic
Sit Down Restaurant (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner served Cafeteria Style) Take Out Restaurant (Tea/Coffee, Soup, Sandwiches, Packaged Entrees) Sweet Shop (Protein Shakes, Ice Cream, Desserts) Grocery Store (Small selection of fresh fruit, vegetables and snacks.)

On-Going Offerings

  • Community Kirtan
  • Healing Prayer Night
  • Health Clinic
  • Movie Night
  • Morning Sadhana
  • One World Choir
  • Sunday Celebration
  • Yoga for Youth
  • Yoga and Meditation Training

Special Events

  • Holistic Health Fair (February)
  • Earth Day Celebration (April 22)
  • Christian Music Festival (March or May)
  • Yoga and Meditation Festival (June -International Day of Yoga)
  • World Peace Day/Weekend of Prayer (Sept)
  • Sacred Music Festival (Oct -Music and dance from all the major faiths)
  • Native American Day (Nov -American Indian Heritage Month)
  • Christmas Music Week (Dec -Featuring choirs from local churches)
  • Holy Days Celebration (Dec -Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa)

Misc. Indoor Needs

  • Full bathrooms on each floor.
  • A stair lift and elevator. Possibly skylights.

Misc. Outdoor Needs

Broad Street

  • Chairs and tables for those who wish to eat or read outside.
  • A plaque describing the history of the building.

Main Street

  • The entire side of the building would be a beautiful mural honoring the natural beauty and Native American influence of the local area.


  • Solar panels if feasible


Without addressing the parking needs of the downtown Nevada City area, this project is probably not feasible. Our primary suggestion is that the City develop a multi-level parking structure on Spring Street; an idea which is already under consideration.

Collaborative Ideas

  • Work with the National Hotel to offer special room rates and spa packages.
  • Invite local businesses to join. (ex: Remedy Gardens).

Please Note
The Alpha Building has only been superficially studied. A thorough understanding of the building’s capabilities and design will determine the feasibility of many of the above ideas. This is true, particularly, for the projects on the bottom floor.

Project Developers
This is a project of Inner Path, a nonprofit 501(c)(3), dedicated to the upliftment of humankind in body, mind and soul, and Rajarshi Social Enterprises, a for profit investment company dedicated to building conscious communities.

Conscious Community
The Whole Life Center is part of a larger group of projects entitled “Conscious Community.” The intention is to create a full spectrum of community settings that uplift consciousness and aid in the upliftment of society. Our expectation is to develop projects such as these in Nevada County and Los Angeles and that they serve as templates for similar projects in the United States and beyond.

Here is a list of many of the aspects of the Conscious Community project.

  • Education for Life School (K-12, College)
  • Health and Yoga Retreat
  • Higher Mind Business Park
  • Multidisciplinary Holistic Health Center
  • One World Communities (Urban, rural, cohousing, garden apartment, group home, retirement)
  • Seva House (Transitional housing for homeless, foster care adults, etc.)
  • Pilgrims House (Spiritually themed hostel)
  • Upward Bound Credit Union
  • Whole Life Center (or Shopping Center)
  • World Peace Garden
  • Yoga and Meditation Center

For More Information:

Contact Information
John Ernst
Phone: 530-470-6057

Informational Websites

Updated: 9/11/23