The city has issued a demolition permit for Our Lady of Loreto Church at 126 Sackman Street, meaning the beloved Ocean Hill church could be demolished any day. The demolition permit was issued on March 24 to demolition firm Titan Industrial Services Corporation.
The Renaissance style church was completed in 1908 and designed by architect Adriano Armezzani, an Italian immigrant who worked with fellow Italian craftsmen — including a sculptor, painter and builder — to complete the project.
Shuttered by the diocese in 2009, it has been at the center of an ongoing struggle between preservation and demolition ever since. After the closure and abandoning plans for demolition, the diocese leased the land to another Catholic organization, Catholic Charities.
An agreement was signed with the State Historic Preservation Office not to demolish the church, and to build an $18 million development consisting of 64 affordable units on part of the land. The plan to reuse the church as a community center never panned out.
In June 2016, the Diocese of Brooklyn filed a request for a permit for the “full demolition” of the church. The permit was not granted at the time, and on February 23 of this year the State Historic Preservation Office sent a letter to the diocese “strongly” encouraging them to work with the Brownsville Cultural Coalition and conduct a conditions study to assess possible uses for the building.
Community members have been working to have the building designated a local landmark, which would protect it, and in March of this year New York State Senator Tony Avella and the Brownsville Cultural Coalition gathered for a press conference in an effort to save the building.
The Brownsville Cultural Coalition is still hoping to save the building, urging community members and architecture lovers to contact the Landmarks Commission to request the Department of Building put a hold on the demolition. They also have a change.org petition here.
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- A Reprieve for Historic Brownsville Church
- Community Rallies Today to Save Long Vacant Our Lady of Loreto Church