The Church of St. Luke in the Fields is joining the recent trend of nonprofits turning toward real estate development to beef up their bank accounts. The Villager reports that the West Village church wants to build a 15-story, 46-unit apartment building on its property at the corner of Greenwich and Barrow Streets. Church officials plan to grant developer Toll Brothers a 99-year lease to the site at 100 Barrow Street, and the venture would fund expansion of St. Luke's school, as well as a new mission building. During a community board meeting, the church pointed out that the 70,000-square-foot building they are proposing is much less than the 200,000-square-feet that's allowed under current zoning. The project would also be developed under the 80/20 affordable housing program, but board members still weren't pleased. The brick-and-glass design was not liked, and neither was the 153-foot height, even though it's shorter than the building across the street.
The church hopes to start construction on the tower and two-story school expansion this year, but first the plans need a stamp of approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, as the sit sits within the Greenwich Village Historic District. The school expansion would be constructed with yellow bricks and give the school nine new classrooms and a 4,000-square-foot gym. Construction of the mission, which would be "townhouse scale" would depend on the tower, as the church needs revenue from the apartments to be able to pay for the mission.
The church's gardens (i.e. the fields in "St. Luke in the Fields") would not be reduced or built upon at all. Beyer Blinder Belle is overseeing the project, while Barry Rice is designing the apartment building and Andrew Bartle is designing the school addition.
The plans go before the LPC on February 4. We're curious to see if the commission agrees with board member Doris Diether: "I thought the building they're putting up looked ridiculous. It looked like a sandwich — it's brick on the bottom, glass in the middle, and brick on top."
· St. Luke in Fields wants to add tower on the block [Villager]
· St. Luke in the Fields [official]