The letter of support comes after Respect Brooklyn, a group of concerned residents, filed an emergency request with the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to designate the church at 423 East 23rd St. and Foster Avenue as an individual landmark. The nod of support came with details about the building architectural details and the importance of an LPC intervention in order to “adapt religious structures for new uses.”
HDC, a non-profit, has been advocating to ensure the preservation of neighborhoods throughout the city, according to their website.
“Brooklyn at one point—when it was its own city—was called the city of churches because when you looked across the water from Manhattan the tallest thing you could see on the landscape were church steeples,” said Kelly Carroll, Director of Advocacy and Community Outreach at HDC.
Respect Brooklyn first announced they would seek individual landmark designation of the church in January after learning the storied past of the building and its celebrated architecture. This after Bklyner first reported the 120-year-old church was listed as a potential site for new housing.
The church dissolved on October 2, 2018.
Colliers International, a Canadian acquisition and brokerage firm, listed the church as a potential development site. There’s an ongoing trend where churches – many times for 99 years – lease a portion of their property to be developed for housing, ranging from affordable to luxury. Preservation and historic advocates have seen an increase in the church-to-housing movement.
“Especially in New York, right now the real estate market is so hot that when a congregation gets into any type of financial troubles or when the congregation dwindles, there is an enormous temptation to divest that property,” Carroll said.
If the future developer incorporates a community facility – a church will qualify – they can potentially build out to 28,920 square feet. Flatbush Presbyterian Church at 475 Riverside Dr. owns the property, and the market value is assessed at $1,199,000.