For sale: Vacant lot in Queens that is home to an African-American burial ground

St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church needs to be consulted before developing the lot

New York /
Jun.June 17, 2019 09:30 AM
The lot at 47-11 90th Street in Queens (Credit: Google Maps)

The lot at 47-11 90th Street in Queens (Credit: Google Maps)

A roughly one-acre vacant lot in Elmhurst has hit the market for $13.8 million. But unlike most vacant lots in the city, this one is a historic African-American burial ground where as many as 300 people—including several former slaves—could be buried.

The lot comes with an archaeological restriction that requires the St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church to be consulted before further developing the lot. Representatives for 90 Queens Inc., which owns the land, have proposed building a cultural space spanning 5,000 square feet on the first floor of a five-story condo at 47-11 90th Street, but the church has not signed off on this.

The firm has started marketing the lot after years of unsuccessfully negotiating with the church about what to do with the land. Church leaders and preservationists hope a buyer comes along to help preserve the site instead of develop it.

“It has been extremely hard for the church to find a partner that is willing to help us, to look at this piece of real estate from a historical perspective,” the church’s Rev. Kimberly L. Detherage told the Times.

A Cushman & Wakefield team led by Stephen Preuss is handling the listing.

The year after slavery ended in New York, William Hunter, a white farmer, deeded land to five black residents who belonged to the United African Society, and an African-American cemetery likely predated the society’s ownership. It was also home to a Presbyterian church in the early 1800s where abolitionist James Pennington served as pastor, but this church converted to African Methodist Episcopal sometime later in the century.

The church sold the land in 1929 and moved to Jackson Heights. It requested to move all bodies from the burial ground to Maspeth’s Mount Olivet Cemetery, but the city turned down this request. The burial ground was largely forgotten until 2011, when the new owner began excavating the land for a new building, and construction workers found a well-preserved body.

Detherage told the Times she thought the city or a different cultural institution could step in to invest in the land and help run whatever gets developed on the site.

“This is our chance to educate, share our history and perhaps change what people think African Americans were like after slavery,” she said. [NYT] – Eddie Small


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Vorea, Domain and L+M close on $88M LIC development site
Vorea, Domain and L+M close on $88M LIC development site
Vorea, Domain and L+M close on $88M LIC development site
Martin Nussbaum, Co-Founder and Principal of Slate Property Group and a rendering of 26-25 Fourth Street (Slate, Rendering via J Frankl Associates)
Bruman Realty lands $66M construction loan for Astoria apartment building
Bruman Realty lands $66M construction loan for Astoria apartment building
The inside of a Queens apartment damaged by Hurricane Ida (Getty)
Queens homeowners demand answers for flooding
Queens homeowners demand answers for flooding
EverWest acquired a Maspeth warehouse from Wharton for $57M
EverWest acquired a Maspeth warehouse from Wharton for $57M
EverWest acquired a Maspeth warehouse from Wharton for $57M
First-time buyers in New York City have prime options in 4 out of the city’s 5 boroughs, according to a report from StreetEasy (iStock)
Sheepshead Bay tops ranking of best NYC neighborhoods for first-time buyers
Sheepshead Bay tops ranking of best NYC neighborhoods for first-time buyers
Glut reaction: NYC’s unsold condo inventory is finally receding
Glut reaction: NYC’s unsold condo inventory is finally receding
Glut reaction: NYC’s unsold condo inventory is finally receding
Renderings of Eastern Emerald (Courtesy of SASI Studio)
Fleet Financial to bring luxury hotel and condo project to Corona, Queens
Fleet Financial to bring luxury hotel and condo project to Corona, Queens
A crackdown on mob activity has brought to light the alleged shakedown of a construction union based in Queens. (iStock)
Colombo mob boss arrested over alleged construction union shakedown
Colombo mob boss arrested over alleged construction union shakedown
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...