In the face of financial pressures, dozens of churches across Brooklyn are looking sell of their holy land in hopes of banking on the conversion trend that’s taken the city by storm. According to DNA Info, more than 50 Brooklyn clergy members are looking to develop their land and air rights to offer more affordable housing and other community services.
Hundreds of religious leaders attended a recent meeting hosted by Borough President Eric Adams detailing how they could raise money as their shrinking congregations give way to fundraising and budgetary constraints.
“You are land-rich but cash-poor. The largest amount of housing potential in Brooklyn lies with you,” Reverend Gilford Monrose, director of the Borough President’s faith-based initiatives, said at the event.
One of five buildings that comprise the historic St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in SoHo sold for $32M in September
But rather than telling attendees to offer up their storied main structures for sale, or paving the way for more luxury units, the event focused on how clergymen can work with developers and city agents to turn their parking lots and annexes into housing and services that can benefit the community at large.
Deacon Dennis Mathis, of Glover Memorial Baptist Church at 2134 Dean Street in Crown Heights, told DNA Info that developers have been “sniffing around” his Crown Heights parking lot and making offers ranging from $250,000 to $300,000. “I can see us developing affordable housing on that lot,” he told reporters. “And any profit made from the deal will go toward expanding our soup kitchen and food pantry and might allow us to add after-school programs for youth.”
The plan is to present all the information culled about the potential land up for grabs to Mayor Bill de Blasio for inclusion in his $41 billion proposal to develop 200,000 affordable housing units across New York City.
[Via DNA Info]
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