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Hundreds of Brooklyn religious leaders attended a recent meeting sponsored by Borough President Eric Adams about how faith-based organizations can earn money and develop their properties by selling air and land rights to developers, according to a story in DNAinfo. It’s an idea that resonated with many of the borough’s religious leaders as they face declining congregations, fundraising challenges and budgetary pressures while working to expand social services to meet the needs of those left behind in the recession.

“You are land-rich but cash-poor. The largest amount of housing potential in Brooklyn lies with you,” Pastor Gilford Monrose, director of the Borough President’s faith-based initiatives, told attendees.

Since many churches own historic buildings and have parking lots and other properties, developers are often interested in the properties. Deacon Dennis Mathis of Glover Memorial Baptist Church at 2134 Dean Street in Crown Heights (pictured above) said he wants to develop affordable housing on a church-owned parking lot and use the proceeds to expand its social services. “Any profit made from the deal will go toward expanding our soup kitchen and food pantry and might allow us to add after-school programs for youth,” he told DNAinfo. Developers have offered between $200,000 and $300,000 for the lot, he said.

A reverend at another Crown Heights church, Brooklyn Christian Center Church at 1061 Atlantic Avenue, said the church has a development plan in the works and came to the conference to learn how how to keep control of the property. Also discussed at the conference was how churches can work with city agencies to develop affordable housing.

Throughout the borough, churches have been demolished for new buildings and in some cases converted to condos. At least a dozen such projects are in the works now.

Adams has previously said he believes developing church property can help increase affordable housing in the borough. Do you agree?

Dozens of Brooklyn Churches Looking to Sell Their Land [DNA]
Church Conversion Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark

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A new building is rising on the foundation of an old one at 261 Skillman Street behind a Bed Stuy church. We found this schematic posted to the construction fence. The church at 1010 Bedford, which we thought was being converted to apartments, has sat mostly untouched since its interior was demolished two years ago.

It turns out a six-story, 36-unit building is going up on the Skillman Street side of the lot, which goes all the way through from Bedford to Skillman. The base of the new development is another old religious building, with a gothic exterior (pictured below). The church sits on the Bedford Avenue side, between Kosciuszko and Dekalb. 

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This church to residential conversion at 81 Ten Eyck Street across the street from Williamsburg Houses in East Williamsburg is slowly inching towards completion. Construction first began at the former St. Mary’s Catholic Church back in September, when Curbed spotted scaffolding around the building.

The project will have 40 units spread across 21,404 square feet, according to alteration permits issued in September. The building will also get a vertical extension from three to five stories. Nataliya Donskoy is the architect of record. Property records show the Catholic Church still owns the 27,500-square-foot plot, but a developer leased it from them for $6,000,000 in 2012.

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The church to condo conversion at 541 Leonard Street in Greenpoint that hit the market with three units last October has changed course and is now trying rentals, BuzzBuzz Home reported.

Each of the three-bedroom, three-bath apartments is full floor and range in size from 1,900 to 2,800 square feet. Asking rent is the same for all three units: $9,600 a month. When they were marketed as condos, the original asking prices were one at $2,300,000 and two at $2,500,000, so maybe $9,600 a month in rent per apartment shouldn’t come as too much of a shock.

The condos are close to McCarren Park and feature 20-foot ceilings, private keyed elevator access, balconies and private gardens. They also have Brazilian walnut cabinets, Nest thermostats, Thermador cooktops and Liebherr fridges.

Do you think these will prove more popular as rentals than as condos?

541 Leonard Street #C [Corcoran] GMAP
Church Condos Hit the Market in Greenpoint [Brownstoner]

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A reader interested in renting an apartment in the church conversion on North 6th in Williamsburg let us know that the apartments might be renting in the next month or two. When she emailed the management company, they told her to try back in a month.

Current plans for the church, centrally located in North Williamsburg at 163 North 6th Street between Bedford and Driggs, include 92 units and 67,508 square feet of residential space, according to alteration permits from last February.

Work Proceeding on Conversion of North 6th Street Church in Williamsburg [Brownstoner]

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We found this rendering for a planned residential conversion tacked to the fence at 200 Nassau Street between Gold and Duffield in downtown Brooklyn, where a former Catholic church and community center will become an 84-unit apartment building. Interior demolition has already begun on the existing two-story structure, which used to be home to the Church of the Open Door and the Dr. White Community Center. The four-story conversion will have 84 units and 56,987 square feet of residential space, according to a plan exam application that was disapproved last week. There will also be an outdoor parking lot for 31 cars and storage for 42 bikes. Nataliya Donskoy of ND Architecture and Design P.C. will design the building. The firm filed applications for alteration type 1 permits beginning in April, and the DOB disapproved them November 18. The Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn still appears to own the property, but building applications list Bridge Building LLC as the developer. GMAP

We’ve included a picture of the building site after the jump.

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Three luxury condo units from the converted church at 541 Leonard Street in Greenpoint hit the market last Friday, as first reported by BuzzBuzzHome. All three are three-bedroom, three-bath apartments, ranging from 1,800 to 2,800 square feet. Corcoran is marketing these condos, one with an asking price of $2,300,000 and two at $2,500,000. Each apartment is full-floor and has 20-foot ceilings, a 126-square-foot private storage room, Brazilian walnut cabinetry, Caesarstone counters, double Electrolux ovens, Thermador cooktops and Liebherr fridges. Every apartment also has a balcony and a private garden. The only downside appears to be living off the G train, but at least it’s close by. GMAP

Adorable Greenpoint Church Conversion at 541 Leonard Graces the Market [BuzzBuzz Home]

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Developer Cayuga Capital is selling a 90 percent interest in its seven-building portfolio for $14,000,000, the Real Deal reports. The portfolio includes 36 Wilson Avenue, 369 Menahan Street, 1399 Greene Avenue, and 297 and 311 Troutman Street, as well as two ground-up rental developments at 286 Stanhope Street and 184 Noll Street. There are 89 rental units included in the package of properties, all of which Cayuga acquired in the last decade. They’re selling so much property to raise cash for their conversion of St. Marks Church on Bushwick Avenue (pictured) into a rental apartment building with 99 units. David Behin, president of investment sales at commercial and residential brokerage MNS, is representing Cayuga. Further down the avenue, as we’ve reported, Brookland Capital is planning to convert another church into apartments.

Bushwick Trailblazer Looks to Unload Portfolio Stake for $14M [TRD]
Bushwick Church Now Event Space, Soon Apartments [Brownstoner]
Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark