So, the other day I noticed that Chico (and friends) had created new murals on the long-abandoned former church on Avenue B between 11th Street and 12th Street...
Then I noticed this. An asbestos abatement notice for work starting May 24.
I've been waiting for something to happen to this space for the last few years. It was a movie theater for many years, first the Bijou in 1926, then the Charles. (The theater closed in 1975.) A fire nearly destroyed the building in October 2006.
There had been talk of fixing up the place for the tenant — the Elim Pentecostal Church. But those plans never panned out. Last June, I toured the space with the Rev. Carlos Torres. (See that post here.)
He had plans to sell the space to a developer. The ground-floor would house the church and a community center. The upper levels of the new building would be for (likely, luxury) housing. He didn't have a timeline for any of this; and there seemed to be a lot of red tape involved in any plans. However, what was clear: The building was beyond repair and needed to come down. (Having been inside, I can vouch that it would take a fortune and a few miracles to get this place up to code.)
So the asbestos sign. Asbestos removal often precedes a demolition. However, there aren't any permits on file for the space with the DOB.
I'd love to see this space returned to its previous life as a theater, such as when it was the Charles here in 1966. Ha,right?
(Read more about this addresses' history as a theater here.)
Regardless, I hope that any new plans do include a rebuilt church and community center along with the nice apartments. Anything other than another lost block of just high-end housing in the East Village.
Previously on EV Grieve:
Revival planned for church and theater on Avenue B
Inside the Charles
Former landmark countercultural theater now for rent on Avenue B