Faith in development: More Brooklyn churches get in on the real estate craze

Houses of worship looking to sell land, air rights to stay afloat

New York /
Oct.October 20, 2014 04:10 PM

Brooklyn congregations desperate for a financial boost are now tapping into the local real estate market as a sort of saving grace.

Cash-strapped houses of worship, which are facing shrinking congregations and the threat of development, are looking to partner with developers to build out their land and air rights.

This would not only help save their churches, but could open the door for affordable housing development and other community services, as well.

According to DNAinfo, hundreds of religious leaders recently attended a conference hosted by Borough President Eric Adams to learn more about “faith-based property development.” There, leaders from Downtown Brooklyn, Flatbush and Crown Heights discovered ways to partner with private developers and take advantage of city agencies to develop affordable housing.

As The Real Deal reported earlier, a wave of faith-based charities have been selling off their properties of late.

Organizers pointed to the Bethel Gospel Assembly in Harlem as a successful example of this “faith-based property development.” The church joined forces with Holland Consultants LLC to develop Fifth on the Park, which produced 47 rentals and 155 condos from a vacant lot and old school house. Some rentals were allotted for affordable housing, and the condos sold for between $1 million and $3 million. [DNAinfo] — Kerry Barger


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