Sunset Park church won’t be razed until later this year

Reprieve: The century-old Zion Norwegian Lutheran Church in Sunset Park, originally slated to be demolished by the end of last year, will stay up until at least July, due to funding problems at the affordable housing developer that bought the property.
Brooklyn Daily
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A more-than-century-old Sunset Park church that was slated to be razed by the end of last year to make room for affordable senior housing and a pre-K school will instead stay standing through at least this summer, according to the project manager from the Fifth Avenue Committee, the affordable housing developer that will build out the new site.

The Fifth Avenue Committee put the demolition of the Zion Norwegian Lutheran Church at the corner of 63rd Street and Fourth Avenue on hold after the Republican tax plan passed late last year, because it cut Low-Income Housing Tax Credits — a federal subsidy for affordable housing construction and repairs — which the Fifth Avenue Committee and similar organizations rely on as a funding source, according to Michael Rose.

The tax-credit hit meant that the Fifth Avenue Committee lost about 15 percent of its funding for the project —amounting $4 million–$5 million — Rose said. The committee applied for more competitive tax credits through the state and is awaiting word back, but the demolition will now not occur until July at the earliest, he said, which means that construction of the nine-story building would not begin until at least September.

The new building will include 56 studio apartments and 28 one-bedrooms, with eight of the 83 total units distributed among the two attached brownstones, which will be gutted and renovated, according to Rose. The units will be reserved for recipients of the city’s project-based Section 8 voucher program who are older than 62, he said.

Seventy-four of the units will be reserved for tenants with incomes of less than 50 percent of the area median income — which is $33,400 for an individual and $38,200 for a couple, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The other nine units will be reserved for seniors with a slightly higher income of up to 80 percent of the area median income, Rose said. And 26 of the units will still be reserved for formerly homeless seniors, according to Rose, who added that the developers will accept referrals of formerly homeless tenants from the city Department of Social Services.

The new building — will also host five pre-K classrooms — will be among the tallest in the area, but will still be dwarfed by the twin 811-unit, 30-story Bay Ridge Towers, the two affordable housing apartment buildings just two blocks away, on 65th Street.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 1:34 am, July 10, 2018
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Reader feedback

ErinW from Sunset Park says:
63rd Street between 4th and 5th Avenues is probably the nicest block in all of Sunset Park. Hopefully it will stay that way. Very glad to hear they will allow the two attached brownstones (limestones, actually) to remain, since the entire block is 100% intact, uniform, row houses.
Jan. 16, 10:37 am

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