Churches see development boom as godsend

Wadsworth Avenue Baptist Church and Church of St. Luke's both on the market

Mar.March 28, 2014 10:09 AM

Real estate development is increasingly a part of the clergy’s job description in New York. With real estate prices booming in the city, historic religious structures are being put on the market at sky-high prices — and selling.

“This market is not going to come back with the big guns the way it is now — this is the time to do it,” Rev. Christopher Ballard of the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew told Bloomberg News. “This is about being prudent stewards of the congregation.”

The Wadsworth Avenue Baptist Church, located at 210 Wadsworth Avenue in Washington Heights, has been listed for $8 million — the proceeds of which would go toward the construction of a new building. The church would use 30,000 square feet under the proposed deal, while a developer would have control of the remaining 67,500 square feet of residential space on the site.

Einhorn Development Group recently agreed to acquire air rights from the French Evangelical Church at 124 West 16th Street. The congregation will get funds and 5,000 square feet in a proposed condo tower on the site. Roughly $2 million will be spent on improvements, and other money will go toward an endowment fund.

The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew is on the market for $8.6 million, which would go toward maintenance expenses. [Bloomberg News]Mark Maurer

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