[Photo from yesterday]
ICYMI from Thursday ... Elizabeth Kim at Gothamist has a feature on the Cooper Square Community Land Trust's efforts to buy the Church of the Nativity on Second Avenue for use as low-income housing.
The land trust proposed a price of $18.5 million. Of that amount, $5 million would be paid to the archdiocese upon closing. The remainder, which would use a combination of federal tax credits and state and local funding, would be paid in installments over a 20-year period.
David Brown, the church’s director of real estate, told Val Orselli [a project director with Cooper Square Community Land Trust] he would get back to him.
Several months later, Orselli returned to Brown's office. In a show of support, representatives of city councilmembers Carlina Rivera and Margaret Chin, as well as the Manhattan regional representative from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, accompanied him.
But Brown was unmoved. The offer was insufficient, he told them. Among the sticking points was the land trust’s inability to pay upfront.
“He told me, ‘A dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow,'” Orselli recalled.
Orselli took the rejection as a sign that the church, a tax-exempt institution, was more interested in getting top dollar for its property, which has been estimated as being worth as much as $50 million.
“I was a bit naive,” he said. Referring to the land trust’s pitch to do something with the property that was aligned with papal doctrines, he added, “They couldn’t care less.”
The Church closed after a service on July 31, 2015, merging with Most Holy Redeemer on Third Street. In the summer of 2017, the archdiocese desacralized the former church, clearing the way for a potential sale of the desirable property.
The Cooper Square Community Land Trust is currently organizing a town hall this May with Community Board 3 to discuss "how decommissioned churches can be best utilized by the Archdiocese and the communities they once served." Something other than demolishing them to make way for ultra-luxury condos.
Meanwhile, as Curbed reported in February, the Archdiocese of New York is considering a proposal to turn the 300,000-square-foot property that housed Saint Emeric on 13th Street, which includes a former school, over to a land trust for 400 units of below-market-rate housing.
Previously on EV Grieve:
Looking at the Church of Saint Emeric on East 13th Street
From St. Emeric's to St. Brigid's
Educator: Turning the former Church of the Nativity into luxury housing would be a 'sordid use' of the property