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A highly coveted rental is below this beautifully restored facade. (The Spire Lofts via All Year Management LLC) A highly coveted rental is below this beautifully restored facade. (The Spire Lofts via All Year Management LLC)
In early March 2024, Crain’s New York Business announced that developer Watermark Capital Group had entered contract to buy Hanson Place Central United Methodist Church (“Hanson Place Central”) in Fort Greene for $15 million. The neo-Gothic building has been hit with multiple violations over the years from the Department of Buildings, and worshipers now gather at a different church less than a mile away.
While Hanson Place Central does not have the famous friends of West Park Presbyterian Church on the Upper West Side, which found itself in a heated battle with the Landmarks Preservation Commission ("Landmarks") before abruptly withdrawing its application in January 2024, locals nevertheless appreciate its architecture and are afraid it’s about to be demolished. This fear is not unfounded – at the beginning of the year, the developer demolished the former St. Lucy’s-St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and an application for a two-family, four-story house was subsequently filed to go up on a fraction of the lot. Brownstoner points out that between the size of the lot, the local zoning, and address just outside the Clinton Hill Historic District, something larger could conceivably take shape.

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One Brooklyn Bridge Park, 360 Furman Street
One Brooklyn Bridge Park, 360 Furman Street Brooklyn Heights
463 West 142nd Street
463 West 142nd Street Hamilton Heights
The Norfolk, 60 Norfolk Street
The Norfolk, 60 Norfolk Street Lower East Side
212 West 93rd Street
212 West 93rd Street Broadway Corridor
The Landmark at Strong Place, 58 Strong Place
The Landmark at Strong Place, 58 Strong Place Cobble Hill
Moreover, Hanson Place Central is in a prime Fort Greene location near Brooklyn Academy of Music, Fort Greene Park, Atlantic Avenue shopping, and the Barclays Center transportation hub. It is also directly next door to 130 St. Felix Street, the site of a planned tower with affordable condo units and space for the Brooklyn Music School. In spite of these promised perks and Landmarks’ approval, the local community was not happy about the height of the planned tower to begin with, and the thought that it could threaten their beloved church is not likely to endear them to it.
144 St. Felix Street Hanson Place Central (Flickr)
But while locals are fiercely protective of neighborhood churches, sometimes the churches themselves are the ones most eager to be rid of their physical real estate, air rights, or both. In an age of waning congregations, this allows them to pay long-standing bills, fund a number of new programs, and sometimes negotiate a deal for worship space in a new building.
If Hanson Place Central was in better condition, its building might have been a prime candidate for adaptive reuse in a move that could have maintained the historic structure while giving the church a massive influx of cash. However, this step should not be taken lightly or half-heartedly. When done right, this can lead to amazing apartments - The Spire Lofts, a Williamsburg rental that was originally built as St. Vincent de Paul Church in 1869, maintained the structure and incorporated salvaged materials; these steps resulted in incredible architectural details in the apartments. However, Williamsburg is also home to a cautionary tale - we’re inclined to agree with the Brooklynite who described the removal of the roof and bell tower at 70 Havemeyer Street as “an architectural crime and a loss for the neighborhood.” As we wait to see what the future holds for Hanson Place Central, we look at examples throughout the city of houses of worship adapted into housing, as well as the new buildings that have risen on former house of worship sites.
555-West-End-Avenue-01 555 West End Avenue via Compass

Adaptive Reuse

Then: Adas Yisroel Anshe Mezritch Synagogue, circa 1910 | Now: Condominium developed by East River Partners
5 stories | 3 units
No current availabilities

415-East-6th-Street-01 415 East 6th Street via East River Partners
Between low attendance and high financial difficulties, the owners of Adas Yisroel Anshe Meseritz Synagogue sold the building, which the Greenwich Village Society of Historic Preservation calls "historically significant," to a developer to be converted to residential use. But this familiar narrative takes a happier turn: As part of the agreement, developer East River Partners agreed to renovate the ground and basement floors in a move that would prevent the congregation from closing its doors. Today the neo-classical elements of the building have been beautifully restored, congregants can go to services through a separate entrance, and the apartments have been designed to marry historic elements with modern finishes and appliances. Between the unique homes and prime East Village location, it is little wonder the building attracted attention from the likes of Natasha Lyonne and Alexander Skarsgård.

Then: Center of the Proskurover Zion Congregation, circa 1920 | Now: Cooperative
4 stories | 4 units
No current availabilities

431-East-6th-Street-01 431 East 6th Street entrance (Compass)
In the 1980s, when East Village real estate prices were a tiny fraction of what they are today, a group of artists purchased an abandoned synagogue and turned it into a tenancy-in-common building with live/work space. Original architectural features like soaring ceilings, arched windows, stained glass windows, decorative moldings, and skylights allowed for abundant natural light, not to mention inspiration, for artists like William Wegman, Jack Sal, Paola Igliori, and Maria Von Hartz.

135 West 4th Street
Then: Washington Square United Methodist Church, circa 1860 | Now: Condominium designed by Flank Architects
5 stories | 8 units
No current availabilities

135-West-4th-Street-01 All images of Novare via Compass
The word Novare is Latin for "to be reborn," and was aptly given to this church one block from Washington Square Park. The facade has been beautifully restored following a 2008 condo conversion, but the interiors were demolished to give way to dramatic apartments that would come to attract celebrities like Jude Law.

205 East 16th Street
Then: St. George's Church parish house, circa 1888 | Now: Condominium developed by Herbert W. Hirsch Enterprises
5 stories | 31 units
1 availability for $2,750,000

205-East-16th-Street-01 The Abbey (Compass)
In the mid-1880s, J.P. Morgan entered an agreement to finance social services at St. George's Church. During its rich history, it hosted a number of social services, not to mention the weddings of daughters of the Morgan and Phipps families. The parish house served as a women's residence in the 1960s; decades later, it was converted to a condominium with original architectural details preserved.

The Abbey Condominium, #4A (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New York Properties)

Then: St. Agnes Boys High School, circa 1908 | Now: Condominium designed and developed by Cary Tamarkin
8 stories | 13 units
4 availabilities from $7,495,000

555-West-End-Avenue-01 All images of 555 West End Avenue via Compass
The Beaux-Arts school at 555 West End Avenue has long served as an unofficial landmark for Upper West Side residents, and its address in the Riverside-West End Historic District required developer Cary Tamarkin to appear before Landmarks before embarking on the restoration and adaptation. The result is a historic building restored to its former glory and unique apartments within. The school's library and gym have been turned into some of the most dramatic apartments in the city, and all units feature grand proportions and Christopher Peacock kitchens.

555 West End Avenue, #TheLibrary (Sothebys International Realty)

Then: Convent building, circa 1912 | Now: Condominium renovated by Alexander Compagno Architecture
5 stories | 14 units
5 availabilities from $525,000

463 West 142nd Street 463 West 142nd Street (Brown Harris Stevens)
In Hamilton Heights, a neo-Gothic convent building has been reborn as a 14-unit boutique condominium. The pointed arched windows and white brick facade have been beautifully restored, but the interiors have been transformed into modern homes with double-hung windows, white oak floors, kitchens with Calacatta quartz countertops and modern appliances, baths with high-end materials, energy-efficient, multi-zone heating and cooling, and dedicated washer and dryer closets.

463 West 142nd Street, #4C (Brown Harris Stevens Development Marketing LLC)

360 Furman Street
Then: Jehovah's Witness printing center, circa 1928 | Now: Condominium developed by RAL Companies
14 stories | 449 units
9 availabilities from $985,000

360 Furman Street One Brooklyn Bridge Park (Compass)
Churches looking to offload their real estate assets may have drawn inspiration from the Jehovah's Witnesses: Over 100 years after setting up headquarters in Brooklyn Heights, they funded their move to a larger plot in upstate New York by selling their real estate to commercial and residential developers alike. This included 360 Furman Street, the printing and distribution center that would become an amenity-rich jewel of Brooklyn Bridge Park with spectacular views of the greenery, river, and Manhattan skyline.

One Brooklyn Bridge Park, #337 (Compass)

99 Clinton Street
Then: Spencer Memorial Presbyterian Church, circa 1850 | Now: Cooperative
3 stories | 10 units
No current availabilities

99-Clinton-Street-01 99 Clinton Street (CityRealty)
In the heart of the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, the Gothic Revival-style church at 99 Clinton Street has a rich history all its own: Brownstoner notes that shortly before the church closed its doors in the mid-1970s, it was a meeting place for the Gay Alliance of Brooklyn, one of New York's first gay rights groups outside Manhattan. When it was converted to a cooperative, original features like high ceilings, exposed stone, and stained glass windows were preserved.

Then: Norwegian Seaman's Church | Now: Cooperative
4 stories | 33 units
1 availability for $999,000

450-Clinton-Street-01 450 Clinton Street (CityRealty)
The Romanesque Revival church on the corner of Clinton Street and 1st Place took shape at a time when this stretch of Brooklyn was mostly farmland, albeit with a number of ships docked at its waterfront. Today, as the neighborhood has become increasingly residential, the church was beautifully repurposed into a cooperative with rich architectural details and an enormous private garden.

450 Clinton Street, #1A (Compass)

360 Court Street
Then: South Congregational Church, circa 1857 | Now: Condominium
3 stories | 26 units
No current availabilities

360-Court-Street-01 The Carroll Gardens Landmark Condominiums via CityRealty
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360-Court-Street-02 Interiors via Brown Harris Stevens
The Romanesque Revival-style church on the corner of Court and President Streets has served as a visual anchor of its Cobble Hill neighborhood for over 160 years, and the red brick facade and towering steeple remain points of interest in the wake of a 2008 condo conversion. Apartment interiors are rich in historic details like soaring ceilings and massive mullioned arched cathedral window, which let in amazing natural light.

58 Strong Place
Then: Baptist church, circa 1851 | Now: Condominium designed by CWB Architects
4 stories | 23 units
No current availabilities

58-Strong-Place-01 The Landmark at Strong Place (The Corcoran Group)
In the heart of the Cobble Hill Historic District, the church at 58 Strong Place has long served as an early example of English Gothic Revival-style architecture. Between the beauty of the building and its location in a protected neighborhood, the developers took great pains to preserve it amidst the residential conversion. This would come to the delight of buyers - a 2011 article in The Real Deal raved about the speed of contract signings and the crowded open houses.

401 Hicks Street
Then: St. Peter's Church, circa 1858 | Now: Condominium developed by Triangle Equities and designed by Scarano and Associates
3 stories | 59 units
No current availabilities

401-Hicks-Street-01 All images of The Arches at Cobble Hill via Compass
In 2005, a three-building complex comprising St. Peter's Church, its rectory, and a nursing academy was transformed into a historically appealing condominium. The retention of architectural details like stained glass windows and wood trusses was instrumental in the project receiving unanimous Landmarks approval, and a small extension allowed for more housing units.

167 North 6th Street
Then: St. Vincent de Paul Church, circa 1869 | Now: Rental developed by Heritage Equity Partners and designed by Anthony Morali
5 stories | 40 units
No current availabilities

163-North-6th-Street-01 The Spire Lofts via All Year Management
To look at this Williamsburg rental, one might think services are still in session. It is an easy mistake to make - the 19th century building's structure was well-maintained at the time of its conversion, and the building is held together with angled wooden beams and cast iron catwalks. Interiors make excellent use of salvaged materials like original exposed brick, custom steel work, Heart Pine pillars and beams, and arched stain glass windows in almost all units. Residents enjoy loft-like apartments, stylish kitchens, in-unit washer/dryers, virtual doorman service, and easy access to popular Williamsburg shopping, dining, and the Bedford Avenue L train.

626 Bushwick Avenue
Then: Lutheran Church, circa 1900 | Now: Rental developed by Cayuga Capital Management and designed by Arctone Group
7 stories | 99 units
3 availabilities from $3,699/month

626-Bushwick-Avenue-01 The Saint Marks (Nooklyn)
Much like at any other rental that has recently sprung up in Bushwick, residents of The Saint Marks enjoy amenities like a bike room, a common roof deck, and garage with Zipcar on premises. They also enjoy rich architectural details like soaring ceilings, airy layouts, exposed brick, and restored windows thanks to the building's history as a church and adjoining school. A four-story infill was added during the residential conversion, and the original buildings have been beautifully preserved.

Living room with original architectural details The Saint Marks, #311 (MySpace NYC Realty LLC)
Open kitchen by entrance
From the Listing: One-of-a-kind two-bedroom triplex with large private roof terrace! Twenty-nine-foot-high ceilings with original brick detail throughout and the church’s original 120-year-old hand-painted tin ceiling! Vaulted ceilings in this historic church building give it a large open feel. Additional features include hardwood floors, custom kitchen with microwave and dishwasher, and separate, efficient PTAC heat and cooling units. See floor plan and full details here.

361 Central Park West, Central Park West

Then: First Church of Christian Scientist | Now: Future home of the Children's Museum of Manhattan

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While a Landmarks designation is vital to the protection of New York's historic buildings, it can sometimes prove overly restrictive. The First Church of Christian Scientist's New York outpost: Its designation as an individual landmark prevented the church from making changes, and the church's leadership sold the building for $14 million in 2004. A planned residential conversion was nixed in the years that followed, and the popular Children's Museum of Manhattan purchased the building for a whopping $45 million at the end of 2017 with expansion plans in mind. It took a few trips to Landmarks, but the adaptive reuse was ultimately approved with modifications in June 2020. Commissioners were largely supportive of the project, but would only allow the museum to remove the overly religious-themed stained-glass windows; the remainder of the decorative cartouches were required to be retained. Indeed, newly released renderings show carefully preserved historic details.

New Buildings

30 East 31st Street
Then: Madison Avenue Baptist Church parish house, circa 1905 | Now: Condominium developed by the Ekstein Development Group and The Pinnacle Group; designed by Morris Adjmi Architects
42 stories | 42 units
1 availability for $1,395,000

30-East-31st-Street-01 All images of 30E31 via Reuveni Real Estate
When 30E31 was on the rise, architecture enthusiasts lamented the loss of the Romanesque Revival parish house that had a history of providing space to arts organizations. But upon seeing the Gothic elements that the context-sensitive Morris Adjmi Architects incorporated into the soaring tower, Carter Horsley came around to the new design. Full-floor units feature 10' ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, custom kitchens, and spa-like baths.

30E31, #2A (Corcoran Group)

Then: Park Avenue Christian Church rectory | Now: Condominium developed by Extell; designed by Beyer Blinder Belle
15 stories | 11 units
No current availabilities

1010-Park-Avenue-01 Rendering of 1010 Park Avenue via Williams New York
1010-Park-Avenue-02 Interiors via The Corcoran Group
In 2014, the Upper East Side's Gothic Revival-style Park Avenue Christian Church sold its adjacent rectory to Extell for just under $25 million in the wake of financial hardship. The rectory's demolition and residential replacement took some time before Landmarks, but the project was approved after Extell dropped a controversial plan to have the new building cantilever over the church's roof. The design was inspired by classic Park Avenue cooperatives and features cladding in the same local stone and limestone trim in the rectory. The church was promised a new street-level entrance and two below-grade community spaces in the new building.

Then: Shaare Zadek synagogue | Now: Condominium developed by Landsea Homes and Leyton Properties; designed by ODA Architects
14 stories | 20 units
No current availabilities

212-West-93rd-Street-01 212 West 93rd Street (Douglas Elliman)
Before the new condominium took shape at 212 West 93rd Street, local preservationists lobbied to save the Neo-Classical synagogue from demolition. However, representatives of Congregation Shaare Zadek claimed selling the building to the developer was the only way to resolve their financial hardships. The building now contains 20 luxury condominium units, not to mention a new worship space with a separate entrance.

100 Claremont Avenue
Then: Space on Union Theological Seminary campus | Now: Condominium developed by Lendlease and Daiwa House; design by Robert A.M. Stern Architects
42 stories | 175 units
14 availabilities from $1,195,000

100-Claremont-Avenue-01 Claremont Hall (The Corcoran Group)
More than 100 years after its Morningside Heights campus was constructed, Union Theological Seminary has used the proceeds from its sale of development and air rights to finance a multi-million-dollar renovation. The resulting condominium is the tallest building in Morningside Heights, but the facade designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects nods to the Gothic style of the other buildings on the seminary's campus.

Claremont Hall, #27A (Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group)

60 Norfolk Street
Then: Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue | Now: Affordable senior housing building
16 stories | 115 units
No current availabilities

60-Norfolk-Street-01 The Norfolk (Housing Connect)
Years after the landmarked Beth Hamedrash Hagodol synagogue was destroyed in an intentionally set fire, and after Landmarks approved further demolition of the damaged shell, a new building has risen on the site. A lottery for affordable senior housing units took place in fall 2022, and the new building also includes a new worship space and cultural heritage center for Beth Hamedrash Hagodol.
Would you like to tour any of these properties?
Just complete the info below.
  1. Select which properties are of interest to you:

Or call us at (212) 755-5544
Would you like to tour any of these properties?