Brownstoner reader brooklynverni snapped these dramatic photos Thursday of an excavator demolishing one of Bed Stuy’s oldest buildings, the pre-Civil War Carpenter Gothic church at 809 Jefferson Avenue. Demo for the St. Stephen and St. Martin Episcopal Church started in January.
Features such as the building’s stained glass and pews were removed, the interior was stripped bare, and then nothing much seemed to be happening for a couple of months.
As we have detailed in previous stories, the church struck a deal with Notias Construction, which plans to build 41 market rate apartments as well as a new two-story church building. The property includes a very large empty lot on the corner, where the church had planned a new house of worship for many years, although that never came to pass.
The church felt it could not afford repairs on the existing building, and had no choice but to sell, according to what we have heard from neighbors familiar with the situation. No sale has been recorded.
In March, an application was submitted for a permit to build a new two-story masonry “community facility” at 789 Jefferson Avenue. Those plans were disapproved this month.
This church is one of many to sell out to developers in recent years in Brooklyn, along with libraries, restaurants, groceries, gas stations, laundromats, and many other businesses, as land has become so valuable.
We suspect a sale of the empty lot would have more than paid for repairs to the existing building, but as our own Montrose Morris columnist has said, “you can’t save everything,” particularly when the owner is not willing.
Above, the church in November. The steeple had been missing for years.
Above and below, photos of the inside of the church taken by a neighbor in November or December.