Monday, April 9, 2018

CB3 to hear request of support for low-income housing at former 2nd Avenue church site

Members of CB3's Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee will hear a request for support tonight from the Cooper Square Community Land Trust to acquire the former Church of Nativity Church for use as low-income housing.

The church here between Second Street and Third Street closed in July 2015 as part of a consolidation reportedly due to changing demographics and a shortage of priests available to say mass. The Church of the Nativity merged with Most Holy Redeemer on Third Street.

The Cooper Square Community Land Trust is proposing 116 units of low-income housing along with a community center and meditation center in honor of Dorothy Day. (The Friends of Nativity had previously proposed a Dorothy Day Shrine and retreat center with services for the homeless at 44 Second Ave. Read more about that proposal here.)

The parish was first established in 1842 and for time was a Jesuit mission parish. Dorothy Day, the co-founder of the Catholic Worker, was a parishioner. Her funeral mass was held there in 1980.

Last December, parishioners held a prayer service on Second Avenue to ask the Archdiocese of New York to turn over the church to the land trust.

Here's part of the coverage via The Villager last Dec. 7, including comments from Valerio Orselli, project director for the Cooper Square Community Land Trust:

Joseph Zwilling, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of New York, said ... that the Church of the Nativity belongs to Most Holy Redeemer, since the two merged, and is not owned by the archdiocese.

“In parishes where there is unused property, the archdiocese works with parish leadership to determine the best course of action,” he said. “Nothing has been determined at this time for Nativity Church.”

“We understand they have many responsibilities. This is one of 18 churches,” Orselli said of the number of former archdiocese churches currently for sale on the open market. “We are not expecting action tomorrow. But I’m hoping they will meet with us sooner rather than later. We are trying to make the project proposal concrete. It will take at least a couple of years. All we are asking now is for the church not to sell the building to a developer.”

There has been speculation that the block from the church to Second Street will eventually yield to a luxury retail-residential complex.

The Cooper Square Community Land Trust has been preserving affordable housing in the Lower East Side for more than 20 years, and in collaboration with the Cooper Square MHA owns, manages and operates 21 buildings.

The CB3 committee meets tonight at 6:30 at University Settlement, Speyer Hall, 184 Eldridge St. between Rivington and Delancey.

Previously on EV Grieve:
As the Church of the Nativity closes for good tonight, take a look at the original structure

Parishioners fight to save the Church of the Nativity on 2nd Avenue

Parishioners hope their prayers are answered with former Nativity space on 2nd Avenue


Anonymous said...

Best of luck to the Cooper Square Committee. They do a fabulous job and really contribute to the neighborhood. Sadly, cannot say that about the Archdiocese.

Anonymous said...

OMG someone doing something for the neighborhood for once.

Anonymous said...

Is the Church and LaSalle actually close to a sale, or is this a preemptive move. Any word on the corner building with Pak Punjab being part of any deal?