Another Church Looking For A Developer – Flatbush Presbyterian Church Is On The Market


DITMAS PARK – The Flatbush Presbyterian Church is for sale and will likely follow the trend of church operators who lease a portion of their space to large residential developers.

Colliers International, a Canadian acquisition and brokerage firm, listed the church at 494 E. 23rd St. at the corner of Foster Avenue as a potential development site. With it comes a “unique opportunity” to acquire the remaining under-developed square footage on the church’s lot.

Other churches in Brooklyn have leased to developersmany times for 99 yearsa portion of their property to be developed for housing – from affordable to luxury. Flatbush (Redeemer) Presbyterian Church has expressed their wishes to remain on the premises, according to the listing.

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Currently, the Flatbush Presbyterian Church lot is under-developed, using approximately 3,400 square feet for the single-story church building. Developers have the potential to build an additional 16,000 square feet – nearly five times more – as of right.

The area’s zoning dictates building heights of 3 and 4 stories. Should the developers add a community facility – a church would qualify – they can build out to 28,920 square feet.

The ground for the church building was broken in late November of 1897, according to reports in the Brooklyn Eagle:

Flatbush Presbyterian Church at 475 Riverside Dr. owns of the property and the market value is assessed at $1,199,000.

There’s little life in and around the church and virtually no sign of an active congregation, according to neighbors. An inactive website, disconnected telephone number and overflowing outdoor mailbox also suggest the site has been abandoned by the congregation.

A more thorough history of the church coming soon. 

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  1. “Mrs. Stephens also added to the value of her handsome gift by taking steps to restrict the land on either side of the proposed building site so that the church will always be assured of light and ventilation.”

    So much for that!

  2. I live very close to this church. The general congregation doesn’t live in Ditmas Park, more specifically the victorian neighborhood that is adjacent to this stretch of Foster Ave. Beyond that, there are two 6 story apartment buildings that flank the property. The covenants secured by Mrs. Stephens have been laid to waste since the 1920’s when developers began to buy up the houses that fell outside of the HOA boundaries and turning them into brick 6 story tenements.

    It is a gorgeous structure. And it does hold historical value but the Ditmas Park community has long abandoned it. But the potential luxury development will drive appreciation for the the nearby homes especially if the building includes useful community facilities. The opposite effect will be felt by those living in the tenements area between Foster and Newkirk Ave as rents will rise just as they have around other like developments that have occurred further west recently. But it must be noted that these tenements were built and for the majority of their 100 year existence served as luxury rentals.

    The intention of all builders involved in the early 20th century in Flatbush was suburban and luxury as the desire to develop Flatbush lay with young urban Republicans that wanted to create a consolidated NYC. In order to do so they needed to flip the rural democratic districts (the other 5 towns other than Brooklyn that occupied Kings County). This is the impetus for building the garden suburbs or Flatbush (east and west), Flatlands, and Bay Ridge in the 1890s.

    Furthermore, the bargained for 2009 rezoning of the area that aimed to further preserve the victorian wood frame home included the concession that the unincorporated areas such as the one between Foster and Newkirk would be upzoned. This agreement and community consensus highlights the transient nature of rental and advocacy within the unincorporated stretch. Were it that organizations and organizers like that of Equality 4 Flatbush were truly based in the community and not composed of new arrivals they would have had their moment in 2009. This isn’t the case. The turnover in the tenement lined unincorporated area is rather brisk.

    Glad to see the land will be actually used by people that truly live in the neighborhood as it was intended by Mrs. Stephens.

  3. I went to Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts as well.

    Most of us were not from the congregation but all were welcomed

    I still have the keys


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