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Construction of Two Towers Imminent at St. John the Divine

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Neighborhood residents and politicians alike are bracing themselves for the construction of two new towers coming to the campus of Harlem's St. John the Divine, following the site's clearing and preparation for construction. In its cash-strapped state, the church has agreed to a 99-year lease on the land to developers the Brodsky Organization. Plans for the Handel Architects-designed site include two 14-story towers that will hold 428 apartments between them, 87 of which will be affordable and renting from $696 per month. The remaining market-rate apartments will begin around $1,700 per month. West Side Rag notes that because Brodsky Organization did not need special zoning permits for the project, the development did not go through a public hearing process.

Those who support preserving the church's grounds point out that construction will obscure the stained glass windows and sculpture along the church's West 113th Street exposure. Despite the building's delineation by Fodor's as the world's largest Gothic-style cathedral, the church and its grounds are not landmarked. That is—yet. In late January, Community Board 9 passed a resolution to landmark the church's campus, but for the portion that has already been carved out for the Brodsky Organization's development. While the construction of the two new towers is imminent, there's hope yet that the site will see no further development.
· Land Cleared for Apartment Complexes Abutting the Cathedral of St. John the Divine [West Side Rag]
· Complaints Build as a Cathedral Project Begins Its Rise [NYT]
· All St. John the Divine coverage [Curbed]