South of EP: The church at Rogers between Carrol and Crown is torn down. Residential on the way - Brooklynian

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South of EP: The church at Rogers between Carrol and Crown is torn down. Residential on the way

readers, it is going to be a big one!

Brownstoner wrote: It looks like the Crown Heights development boom is finally making it south of Eastern Parkway with a planned five-story residential building at 267 Rogers Avenue between Carroll and Crown streets. New building applications filed last month show a 112,256-square-foot building with 165 apartments. The architects are Think Architecture and Design PLLC.

The property is part of the St. Ignatius Catholic Church complex next to Medgar Evers College, and demolition applications have already been filed to knock down the church’s community hall (pictured). As far as we can tell, the actual church building will remain. Public records indicate the church still owns the land, but the site may have changed hands recently since the building permits list an LLC as the owners.

No privately owned green space seems safe.


  • Curbed's picked it up too:

    And unlike Brownstoner, it's saying the church itself will be demolished as well. Kind of a sad fate, but I hadn't realized it'd been boarded up and that three years ago its parish was merged with St. Francis of Assisi. The grounds used to be rather beautiful.

  • edited January 8

    Catholic parishes are having a hard time keeping members.

    I imagine it is very tempting for the diocese leadership to look for buyers of some of these properties, without ever giving the remaining members a voice.

  • In some parallel universe in my mind, all the storefront churches on Rogers unite their congregations, join with St. Francis to renovate the church, raise the roof, and move in. The storefronts no longer needed for churches become shops and restaurants.

    I know reality works differently, but man, that would be nice.

  • It's also that the neighborhood is made up of different religions, not as many Roman Catholics. Lots of Baptists and Pentecostals and lots of Haitian houses of God in the area. So, like many of the synagogues in the area, the building outlasted the congregation.

  • Yes, but I too like GRWD's world.

    If I am correct about his/her world, the building and the property would belong to those who wish to worship god, in whatever way their faith prescribes.

    In GWRD's world, the grounds would resemble the chapels that served the various military bases I grew up on as a child: Whenever a different faith needed to use it, they adapted it as needed:

    -In most cases, religious leaders from the surrounding areas held the services. In some cases, the same military chaplin adapted his speech and attire to match those of his audience's expectations.

    -I was about 10 when I learned that the Jews would throw a sheet over the crucified Jesus, because -one day- they forgot to remove it before the Catholics were to hold Saturday evening mass.

    -I assume in GRWD's world, his association of worshippers would not need to outbid private developers.

    Yes, the world at Rogers and Carol is far different.

  • whynot, You're 80-90% right.

    There's still capitalism in my mind's parallel universe - it's a parallel universe, not a total fantasy.

    Ideally, St. Francis would've just sold the air rights, and the "Worshippers Association, LLC" would've put up a 10-20 story tower somewhere nearby (similar to what St. Philip's did on the corner of Throop and Lafayette). They'd get rid of the fence and let the spacious grounds become a privately owned public plaza, getting them an FAR bonus. And the storefront churches (who would've bought the buildings back in the day for pennies on the dollar, obviously) would hire a savvy real estate attorney that lets them make the most of their tax-exempt status, so that the whole thing actually makes some sense.

    But I digress.

  • I love portable air rights!

    Attn Aspiring Bar Owners:

    In addition to having a future base of comparitively wealthy customers, this area may now be completely devoid of houses of worship, allowing you to open bars in locations within 200 ft.

    Attn Opportunist Storefront Churches-

    You could rent a nearby storefront, to position yourself for a large donation from an aspiring bar owner, so you will move.

    With skill, you could do this without having any actual worshipers! Repeat as necessary to earn a good living!

  • edited October 2014

    Readers, this development is one of the Big Developments happening in western Crown Heights in 2014 that we will watching closely. To learn about the others, see this thread:

  • This morning's walk indicates that demolition has yet to begin. I am actually watching this site, in part, because I wouldn't mind buying a old pew for personal use.
  • edited February 2014
    Just adding a photo of the other structure that will be torn down, the former community hall:


    The church can be seen to the left.      

    Does anyone know if they have already stripped the church of things I would consider valuable:    the bell?     The stained glass?     Was there a marble alter?     

    Also, adding a link to the architect:

    The firm does not have rendering of this site up yet, but their other projects are pretty high end.    
  • It looks like things are about to get going here... a solid construction fence is going up around the property.
  • So something that was once visual pleasing will become another crapitecture eyesore

  • Damn it, this means my chance to score a less than full length pew for $30 is probably toast.
  • So something that was once visual pleasing will become another crapitecture eyesore

    I'm a fan of historic architecture but I've always thought that this building and lawn take away from the neighborhood. The architect hired on this new building employs some very innovative designs. They are night and day compared with the architect hired to design the building replacing the Savoy Theater on Beford and Lincoln Place. I'm looking forward to seeing this one sprout!
  • If one looks closely, one can see the roof to the community hall has already been removed.

  • I live across from this church, on Crown St, and have been sadly watching the roof removal for the past few days. Among many other things, I'm worried that the demolition will be complete before all is set to begin building, leaving me with a huge hole to stare at a la Franklin Ave/Eastern Pkwy. Can anyone decipher this building plan for me? Worried about the red print and the all-caps "DISAPPROVAL" language.

    While it wasn't an architectural wonder, it was nice having some green space to look at across the street. And the old building was built in 1927, I think? Been trying to find a picture I found online years ago after moving to Crown Heights -- the old church and my apt bldg were the only buildings around in 1929.
  • edited March 2014
    It means that the building they planned to construct needs to be somehow modified before it can be built.

    Note, they can demolish the present structures under the existing demo permit.

    They will likely tweak the design to make DOB happy.

    Here is a list of the open permits on the site:
  • Thanks, whynot. They had a rummage sale last summer, and, like you, I was hoping for a cheap pew! No dice, no pews in sight.
  • Not sure if the Diocese of Brooklyn does the same as the Diocese of New York which removes all the fixtures and furnishings from closed churches and stores them in a warehouse for future use in another church.
  • I also live right across from this. Very saddened that we will be losing this historic church and green space. My living room view has been this church for almost five years. Sadly, my new view will be someone's living room in an apartment that probably is pricier than the Plex. Additionally, if there is rooftop access, we will have to deal with the noise from parties. Not to mention the loss of car parking.

    The church is over 100 years old and was built in 1909 or 1910. They celebrated their 100th anniversary of the church not too long ago. The Franciscan friars who ministered to the church withdrew about two years ago. I think this was the start of shutting down or consolidating the parish with another one.

  • Priest and parishioner shortages are often to blame.

    Hopefully we get a rendering of the new building soon. 165 apartments will bring a lot of new neighbors.
  • Looks like all the plans have been approved. Still 165 units, parking and a fitness center. No design info is out there but they will have terraces on some units. I agree with vaportrail that the architect has good designs… hope we get something interesting.
  • @Esperanza welcome! Sorry to hear about this.
  • For those following this one, the developers posted a image of the new building at the site.
  • Do you have the site address?
  • edited March 2014
    267 Rogers

  • I snapped a picture of this rendering yesterday afternoon as well.  Not looking forward to these yellow accents, but I have to admit, it could be much worse.  
    Esperanza, I feel your pain.  While my windows don't look out to the church, I walk my dog around this block every morning and always have appreciated the open space, nice big trees, and quiet.  I cannot image what our relatively peaceful block will be like with 165 units worth of new people moving in!  I guess we can be happy that there doesn't seem to be retail planned?  
  • McChloe,

    I think I recognize your dog:) So I am sorry you'll lose the space for it.

    Thanks for posting the pic, I generally avoid the worksite as I see it during the daylight hours. Whole heartedly agree it could've been much, much worse. The Mirador, on their Website, is such a testament.

    I think the architects learned from the Plex's mistake, no one has rented their space in the over two plus years it's been completed.

    Stay warm all!
  • Steeple no longer erect. It can now be seen on what remains of roof.

  • The bells are also on the front of the church porch area. Looks like the artists have given some urban exterior design. I was wondering how long that would take.
  • Can't help but think that the former parishioners of this chuch must be feeling especially sad to see the steeple in its present state. It has been there for several days, and it really needs to be taken down fully, out of respect for what that building used to be.
  • Steeple still present, resting on its side.

    Now present are excavators and dumpsters.

  • They've started tearing down the walls, heard them going at it earlier this afternoon.
  • Church is gone and they're starting on the church hall. I suspect it'll be gone by the end of the evening. Odd that the church is being torn down on Good Friday of all days.
  • edited April 2014
    Excavators work quickly.

    Only the back wall of the church remains.   The community hall looks about 60% down.image

  • edited April 2014
    This photo was taken from the same place.

    The back wall of the church can be seen behind the excavator on the left. The rest of the church is rubble.

    The excavator on the right now sits on the rubble of the community hall. No walls remain.

  • Seems slow going. The work crew is actually going thru the rubble and picking out any mental. Recycling perhaps?

    I was talking with my super about this area, and an older person said that the community hall had been the old police precinct at one point. The church bought the land and simply built the church next door. Any validity to this?
  • edited April 2014
    Most construction sites sell anything of value, and pay different rate to dispose of different kinds of debris.

    re: the police pct, sorry, I can't verify that for you, but I can supply some aerial photos of what the site now looks like:


    Photos used with permission.

    Note, the steel seems to be arranged along the Rogers Ave edge.
  • Thanks for the pics. I wonder how someone got on the roof of our bldg. Didn't know that was accessible. Interesting.

    The supers I spoke with have been here since the 80s and 90s, so I suspect the person he spoke with was one of the old timers who'd lived here for ages, might be a good amount of validity.
  • edited May 2014
    And THIS is why new church plants are renting space in NYC public schools. 
  • In addition to providing spaces for worship, these places also provided spaces for book clubs, AA/NA mtgs, scout troops, and the like. It should be interesting to see how those needs are met.

    Meanwhile, all of the salvageable metal and bricks now appear to be gone. It appears it is now time to dig a hole for the foundation.

  • I saw the EPA folks out taking samples about a week and a half ago. Perhaps the only hold-up now is the results.
  • I just saw the digger breaking down. They must've gotten the results from the EPA.
  • Took this during that super foggy morning a week or so ago. It looks like something from a horror movie!
  • Sooooo, never mind about the picture, looks like it didn't post. Maybe it's too creepy for the internet?
  • It may have been merely too large. You can't upload highdef photos.

    BTW, I believe the excavators have started the next phase: Dig a hole for the new building's foundation.
  • Indeed, hole digging is complete. If one looks closely, one can see they are now creating the forms that will hold the concrete underpinnings to the foundation.

    In order to build taller, they are creating an interior courtyard.

  • edited October 2014
    View from Carrol St, at the NE corner of the lot:

  • edited January 8
    Just adding a clean rendering. The picture I took above of the rendering on the fence kinda sucks:

    Also linking the index thread to the other big developments I watch, because that is somethng I seem to do:

    And, here's the firm that seems to be doing the architect work:
  • Steel rebar has begun to rise:

  • Renderings remind me of a mental institution. I thought Think Architecture was doing this.
  • edited June 15
    Significant progress is visible over the last month. The U shaped foundation is complete, the ground floor has been poured, and it won't be long before the structure is taller than the perimeter fence.

  • Now above perimeter fence:

  • Each floor is cement. No one will be hearing the neighbors walking or partying. I highly doubt this will be a family building as the apartments are so tiny.
  • I agree. The local schools are unlikely to feel an impact from its residents.

    More concrete was pumped today:
  • I wish they'd start later in the day. So bloody loud. I think they're behind schedule and are rushing to get done by the Fall of 2015. I haven't seen a construction site speed along this quickly. Perhaps the Vatican coffers needs the rent money to pay of the priestly sins.
  • edited August 14
    A few people have told me that the Catholic church continues to own this property, and has leased it to the developer on a 99-year "front loaded" lease.

    If true, this arrangement might allow the developer to escape many real estate taxes and allow the Catholic Church to put a new church on the property in 2114.

    ....This might be about the time that its present rebranding takes hold.
  • Very few things can stop an As Of Right development.
  • oh, yeah, they're delusional--this building is obviously happening. but calling attention to the seedy tax deal has to count for something, right? 
  • edited August 21

    99 year leases with churches are legal. This property is far from unique.

    Usually a developer is only able to avoid paying property taxes in exchange for making a % of the units rent stabilized. By leasing from a church, developers can avoid paying taxes without incurring this obligation.

    ....making those properties quite valuable and tying the hands of government.
  • edited August 21
    What happens to the building after 99 years?  The church takes ownership and becomes the landlord?
  • edited August 21
    Or, leases the property again.
    Or, sells it.

    We should remember that the value of the building may be exhausted by then; They don't build buildings like they used to.

    My favorite part of this dynamic is that (in addition to gov losing out on taxes) the NYS SLA does not take into account whether a building is owned by a religion, only whether it is "occupied" by one.

    So, bars and restaurants wanting to locate near this building are not constrained by the rule that prohibits full liquor lics within 200' of said building.

    As a result, neighboring commercial properties are not excluded from such profitable uses, AND benefit from the church continuing to own the property.
  • It's interesting that on this board and in other places on the internet, the story of Crown Heights having been a black neighborhood "only for the last 30-40 years" is repeatedly parroted. Somehow the fact that the neighborhood was gentrified over the course of the first half of the 20th century and the black residents living here pre-gentrification literally carved a neighborhood out of the woods is conveniently forgotten. I guess twenty years from now, I can look forward to being asked "What are you doing in this neighborhood?". 
  • edited August 21
    If you lived on Vanderbilt Ave in Prospect Heights you didn't have to wait 20 years.

    Use the Brooklyn map to toggle between 2000 and 2010, and watch it turn blue.

    If they were to update it to 2015, I imagine it would be a deep blue by now.
  • edited August 21
    Per Wikipedia:

    Crown Heights had begun as a posh residential neighborhood, a "bedroom"[clarification needed] for Manhattan's growing bourgeois class. The area benefited by having its rapid transit in a subway configuration, the IRT Eastern Parkway Line (2 3 4 5 trains), in contrast to many other Brooklyn neighborhoods, which had elevated lines. Conversion to a commuter town also included tearing down the 19th century Kings County Penitentiary at Carroll Street and Nostrand Avenue.[9]

    Beginning in the early 1900s, many upper-class residences, including characteristic brownstone buildings, were erected along Eastern Parkway.[why?] Away from the parkway were a mixture of lower middle-class residences. This development peaked in the 1920s. Before World War II Crown Heights was among New York City's premier neighborhoods, with tree-lined streets, an array of cultural institutions and parks, and numerous fraternal, social and community organizations.

    Population changes began in the 1920s with newcomers from Jamaica and the West Indies, as well as African Americans from the South.

    From the '40s through the '60s, many middle class Jews lived in Crown Heights. In 1950, the neighborhood was 89 percent white, with some 50 to 60 percent of the white population, or about 75,000 people, being Jewish, and a small, growing black population. By 1957, there were about 25,000 blacks in Crown Heights, making up about one-fourth of the population.[10] There were thirty-four large synagogues in the neighborhood, including the Bobov, Chovevei Torah, and 770 Eastern Parkway, home of the worldwide Lubavitch movement. There were also three prominent Yeshiva elementary schools in the neighborhood, Crown Heights Yeshiva on Crown Street, the Yeshiva of Eastern Parkway, and the Reines Talmud Torah.
  • From the Vice article posted above:

    The prison ledger presents no record of the convicts' race, only their names and towns of residence (nearly all of them were from Brooklyn). What is known is that at the time, Crown Heights was called Crow Hill, a name some sources attribute to the birds that settled on the hill, but the derivation of which likely lies in the neighborhood's robust black population at the time ( crow was a slur for black people that originated in the early 1800s—hence "Jim Crow"). An 1873 Brooklyn Daily Eagle unearthed by the Brooklyn Public Library quotes a white policeman responding to the question, "How did their settlement get to be named Crow Hill?" by saying, "Well, they had to live away from the white people, and they got up there in these woods. The woods were at the time full of crows, and it was called Crow Hill, partly because there were a great many crows there and partly on account of the people nicknaming the darkies 'crows,' too."

    This was a black community as far back as Reconstruction. Crow Hill, Weeksville and other smaller settlements were all thriving communities with some settlements in the area dated back to the Revolutionary War.

  • edited August 21
    When a fortunate group (often a mix of race and religion) leaves a neighborhood, they often leave signs that they were there in the form of institutional buildings.

    Jewish people leave temples, some of which are then often converted to christian churches, but still easily identified as former synagogues. The Brooklyn Jewish hospital complex is now apartments.

    White Catholics leave behind big parish complexes, which often include high schools (such as St Theresa Complex, or the School for the Deaf on Eastern Parkway). These buildings live on as non-religious schools, and/or new congregations.

    In other instances, only a few restaurants and bars remain as a testament to the past.

    Richard Hurley and Maria Molina (see article) were each speakers on the 2015 walking tour that Ms Whynot and I led, and fear no trace of "them" will be left behind.

    Only the obscure Weeksville Heritage Center will remember them.
  • i don't think anyone denies that crow hill was an important phase in crown height's just happened a much, much longer time ago than the changes that happened in living memory, of which there were many even in just the past 50 years.

    this stretch of rogers might see many waves of changes before the 99 year lease is up....and by then it'll be crumbling ocean front property.
  • They are in the process of pouring the 4th floor. One more to go.

    These photos don't show it well, but the interior courtyard will be large and provide lots of light. Almost like a private park.

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