Archdiocese selling East Village site to affordable housing developers

Spatial Equity, Community Access plan 570-unit rental project

Church Selling East Village Site to Affordable Developers
181 Avenue D in Manhattan NYC with the Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan (Google Maps, Facebook/Timothy Cardinal Dolan)

A shuttered church may soon be home to more than 500 affordable housing units, though much of that potential is wrapped up in New York City’s infamous rezoning process.

The Archdiocese of New York is in contract to sell the site at 181 Avenue D in the East Village to Spatial Equity and Community Access for a minimum of $58 million, PincusCo reported. That price point could escalate by another $10 million if the church guides the site through Ulurp.

The sale was agreed to in January, but requires court approval because of the state’s rules around nonprofit asset transactions.

The buyers plan to turn the one-and-a-half acre lot into a 570-unit, fully affordable housing community. Divided into two tax lots, one building will span 240,000 square feet, while the other will be 190,000 square feet. Sixty percent of the rental units would be targeted for homeless individuals and households, including those with special needs.

Denham Wolf Real Estate Services consulted for the church on the deal.

The existing building, formerly used as the campus of St. Emeric, is approximately 12,000 square feet. Including air rights, the site contains 208,000 square feet of total buildable space, well below what the proposed development requires, hence the need for the rezoning.

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The land is a brownfield site, used as part of a manufactured gas plant from the 1860s to 1993. The polluted soil is in the process of being cleaned, according to filings reported by Crain’s.

The church closed in 2013 as the congregation’s numbers dipped, and merged with St. Brigid nearby. Asylum seekers have headed to the former church to apply for shelter in recent years.

Brooklyn-based Spatial Equity is scheduled to open a 123-unit affordable housing development in Cypress Hills this year. The firm did not return a request for comment from Crain’s.

Community Access also has some affordable housing projects in its portfolio, including a 45-unit conversion of a prewar building on Avenue D and a 123-unit complex on the Lower East Side. It also did not respond to the publication’s request for comment.

Holden Walter-Warner

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