CROWN HEIGHTS — The New York City Landmarks Preservation Committee sent Workable St. Johns LLC and designers PKSB Architects back to the drawing board on Tuesday to revise the development project at St. Greggory the Great Roman Catholic Church.
The Committee suggested eliminating the top floor of the Academy, that was proposed as part of renovations to turn the former school building into 41 residential apartment units. Members added that the choice to set back the additional stories makes the “wedding cake” construction appear more aggressive. This after, five people testified against the scale of the project at 911 St. John Ave., including residents, Community Board leaders and representatives of the Historic District Council.
“The rowhouses adjacent to the site are only two stories high, and the stark change in height immediately next to them is uncomfortable and should be mediated better, said Jesse Denno of the Historic District Council.
The property falls inside the Crown Heights North Historic District which was established in 2004 and encompasses more than 1,000 buildings.
The proposed renovation will add 3 floors to the existing 3-story plus cellar structure and an extension to the west side of the building, converting the school into a 46-unit residential building.
Members of the Land Use Committee of Community Board 8 shot down the project on September 6, when developers first introduced the plan, followed by a unanimous 36-0 CB8 board vote against. At the time, members voiced concerns about the project’s bulkiness and lack of affordability.
Some community residents are also uncomfortable with the role the Catholic Diocese is playing in the venture. As per the leasing agreement, developers will payout — over time — money to rehab the parish and inherit the same tax-free benefits as the church.
One resident at the LPC meeting brought up a recent $27 million settlement the Brooklyn Diocese made to four victims of sexual abuse at St. Lucy’s-St. Patrick’s Church in Clinton Hill.
The church-residential collaboration is the second within weeks of each other in Crown Heights. Developers are also planning to build a 210 unit apartment building on the Sterling Place side of the property at 920 Park Pl.