Madison Avenue Baptist Church selling Murray Hill parish house

Property is zoned for 46,500 buildable square feet of residential, hotel

TRD New York /
Jul.July 19, 2013 05:30 PM

Madison Avenue Baptist Church has put its historic 1906 parish house at 30 East 31st Street on the market.

The parish has been in need of restoration and repairs for a while, said Brian Crowson, the parish administrator, but plans to sell the building were delayed due to the depressed real estate market.

When the market turned around this year, the church decided it was time to sell, “due to the inability to rehabilitate the building [because of cost], the exorbitant upkeep cost and the current market condition,” wrote Faith Grill, chair of the Madison Avenue Baptist Church Trustees, in a letter to parishioners.

The five-story building, between Park Avenue South and Madison Avenue, is home to church offices, the pastor’s office, meeting spaces and two ballet companies, the Dokoudovsky New York Conservatory of Dance, on the second floor, and New York Theatre Ballet, on the fifth floor. There will be a six- to nine-month period for the tenants to move out once the sale goes through, Crowson said.

The listing does not include the sanctuary, which is part of a 15-story boutique hotel, the Roger (formerly Hotel Roger Williams), at 131 Madison Avenue at 31st Street. Church revenue comes primarily from rent the hotel pays.

David Colen and Lawrence “Chip” Porter of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank are the listing agents. There is no asking price for the property, said James Kuhn, president of the brokerage.

The development, with 46,500 buildable square feet, is zoned for ground-up construction of a residential or hotel property including ground-floor retail, the Newmark website indicates.

The “deal deadline has passed” and the agents “are reviewing bids,” Kuhn said, declining to reveal more due to a confidentiality agreement.

Dating back to 1848, when it was known as the Rose Hill Baptist Sunday School/Church, on 30th Street between Third and Lexington avenues, Madison Avenue Baptist Church has a membership of about 100 families, Crowson said.

The church will reconfigure part of the sanctuary to accommodate bathrooms, a meeting room and possibly the church office, although the latter might be situated offsite, he noted.


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