Clinton Hill Parish House Demolished, 17-Story Tower to Rise Above Landmarked Church

Rendering by DXA Studio

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To make room for a new, 17-story building on the site of the landmarked St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Clinton Hill, a three-story parish house has been demolished, joining a smaller three-story rectory with a mansard roof that was torn down earlier this year.

Both were not landmarked. While the land on site has been cleared, construction crews appear to have yet to break ground.

The Gothic Revival church at 230 Classon Avenue, which Brownstoner featured as a Building of the Day in 2011, was designated as an individual landmark in 1981. The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved construction on the site in 2017, including building a metal and glass connector between the new building and the church and removing a modern brick chimney at the western side of the church. The new tower’s address will be 249 Willoughby Avenue, according to DOB filings.

The site in April of this year. Photo by Craig Hubert

An application for a new-building permit filed in 2016 shows the apartment building will have a total of 138 units. Parking for 89 bicycles will be available in the cellar, and 97 spaces for cars will be located on the ground floor along with a community facility. Space on the second floor will be reserved for the parish, including two apartments, a choir room and two meeting rooms, as well as a roof terrace. A lounge belonging to the church will exist on the third floor, along with a gym. Another outdoor space is located on the top floor.

The parish house mid-demolition in April. Photo by Craig Hubert

An email from the developer, Quinlan Development Group, sent early this week announcing the project’s start, says that the apartments will be all one- and two-bedrooms with private balconies and that 30 percent of the apartments will be set aside as affordable. Quinlin inked a 99-year ground lease with the church for part of the site in 2017, public records show.

Renderings show the building, across the street from the Pratt Institute campus, will have a two-story base, with the rest of the floors rising above where the parish house once stood. At the corner of Willoughby and Classon, it appears that outdoor space will replace the former rectory. Most of the units appear to have balconies, with those viewable in the rendering looking out over the church facing Classon Avenue. DXA Studio is behind the design.

The site in 2012. Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark

This isn’t the only development currently rising around a landmarked church in Brooklyn. Not far away at 550 Clinton Avenue, a 29-story Morris Adjmi-designed skyscraper is currently being constructed next door to the Church of St. Luke & St. Matthew, a Romanesque-style church that opened in 1891 and was designed by prolific church architect John Welsh. 

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