Extell tower could hinge on rare ruling on church’s style

Landmarks' commissioners to dub rectory on Park Avenue church “Gothic Revival” or “no style”

TRD New York /
Apr.April 29, 2014 01:50 PM

Extell Development’s likely plan to replace a Park Avenue church rectory with a condominium tower may hinge on a Landmarks Preservation Commission ruling on the building’s style.

Church members, preservationists and neighbors asked the commission to rule on whether the Park Avenue Christian Church rectory, located at 1010 Park Avenue at East 85th Street Street, should be listed on a city landmark report as “Gothic Revival” or with no specific style. Should the LPC rule the former, the annex would probably be protected from demolition.

If the ruling is “no style,” however, Extell will likely be able to demolish the structure and build a condominium tower in a deal that would pump much-needed funds into the congregation, Paul Selver, a land-use lawyer who represents the church, told the Journal.

“We think it should be determined to be a ‘no-style’ building because what is there today is essentially a 1960s construction that doesn’t have any historic integrity,” Selver told the Journal.

Area preservationists, meanwhile, contend that the structure was intended to be part of the larger church complex, and that much of the original Gothic Revival-style façade remained when the rectory was constructed in the 1960s.

With arguments flooding in from both sides, the commission asked its members to rule on the property’s style — a rare move, according to the Journal. The 11-member landmarks commission, which currently has one vacancy, will be decided by the ten members on Tuesday, the Journal reported. [WSJ]Julie Strickland

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