A prolific builder of uninteresting hotelsSam Chang of McSam Hotel Groupis building another one on West 36th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. But here's the rub: in order to put up a 20-story, 406-room structure, first he has to demolish the former Christ Church Memorial building. Built in 1905, the parish house and church served as a place for Presbyterian worship as well as a community center and theater until 1975, when the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health took it over. It's just a hair outside the Hudson Yards special district, so developing it is a boon. That's probably why Chang bought it for $50.8 million last year. Though demolition and new-building permits are still pending, a tipster writes in that the century-old former church is already nearing its end.
From the tipster:
Nothing major has occurred on the exterior facade so far besides the removal of lighting fixtures. Crews have been working inside. I'm told they are prepping for demolition. Water, gas, and electrical systems are in the processes of being disconnected from the grid. Utility teams have been working in the street and sidewalk in front of the building. I'm hoping that the developer intends to (or is required to) incorporate the existing structure into the development of this site, but that does not seem likely. The tipster is sad to see the church go, and asked: "Is there anything that can be done for this building at this point?" Sadly, because the Christ Church Memorial building isn't landmarked, the answer is, "Not really."
It says something that even notoriously pro-development Post writer Steve Cuozzo is sorry to see the church go; it was the site of his first job in New York Cityat the nonprofit performing arts center that occupied the site in the early '70s, between its stints as the church/community center and the mental health clinic.
Here are some pre-demolition photos from a brave soul:
· The Crumbling Building That Captured My Heart [NYP]
· The Block That Time Forgot [NTP]
· The 1905 Christ Church Bldgs-- 344 W. 36th Street [DiM]
· All Sam Chang coverage [Curbed]
· Losing Our Religion archive [Curbed]