Apartments Replace Pre-Civil War Carpenter Gothic Church, One of Bed Stuy’s Oldest Buildings

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The new St. Stephen and St. Martin Episcopal Church, which occupies a prominent corner in Bed Stuy, is nearly complete.

Located at 795 Jefferson Avenue, between Patchen and Ralph Avenues, it replaces a historically significant Carpenter Gothic church that was standing in 1854, maps show, and could have dated back as far as the 1840s. Before it was demolished, it could have been Bed Stuy’s oldest church or even oldest building.

Building the new two-story church was a condition of the property’s sale in 2015 to Notias Construction for $1.6 million. The jagged, angled facade is a mix of sand-colored brick and panels, with a line of darker stone running up the front that forms the steeple.

809 jefferson avenue

On the Patchen Avenue side is a new community facility connected with the church, according to building permits. There will be a banquet hall in the cellar, along with an audio/video room and choir room on the second floor.

An unusual angled window on this side of the building is reminiscent of the steeply sloped roof of the original church building.

809 jefferson avenue

A new five-story residential building now stands on the Jefferson Avenue side, behind the church. The facade has strips of brick in different shades of grey. During a recent visit, work was still happening on the ground floor, and the building does not yet have a certificate of occupancy.

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It will eventually have 38 units, according to building records. There will be 16 parking spaces in the cellar, and a laundry room on the first floor. Shaneekua M. Henry is the architect of record.

Demolition of the historic church, whose address was 809 Jefferson Avenue, started in January 2015. The church felt it could not afford repairs on the existing building, and had no choice but to sell, as we reported at the time.

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The church in 1940. Photo by P.L. Sperr via New York Public Library

The new building is much more massive than the old one, which had a large lawn at the corner, although in recent years it was a stalled construction site and empty lot.

The church in 2014. Photo by Cate Corcoran

It is part of a wave of development all over Brooklyn that has especially affected wood frames on oversize lots, common in this part of Bed Stuy. This church is one of many to sell out to developers in recent years, along with libraries, restaurants, groceries, gas stations, laundromats, and many other businesses, as land has become so valuable.

[Photos by Susan De Vries unless noted otherwise]

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