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Contested UWS Church Conversion Is Stymied (For Now)

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After several heated meetings, the Upper West Side's community board finally gave its blessing to the controversial condo conversion of the former First Church of Christ, Scientist at the corner of 96th Street and Central Park West last month. However, that approval only came from a committee, and DNAinfo reports that the full board voted against the project this week. Changes to the 112-year-old building were approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in March, but the developer needs a zoning variance to allow the project to actually move forward, so it must go before the Board of Standards and Appeals. The BSA will consider the community board's decision, but ultimately, the board's vote is only advisory.

The church is currently empty (up until a few months ago, it was the Crenshaw Christian Center), and some board members think that the conversion, which will create 39 condos, is a good thing because it will reactivate a dead building. But according to DNAinfo, a lot of neighbors worry that it will negatively affect the value of their own property because "the views from neighboring apartments would be of other people's apartments." Instead of looking at a pretty church, they'll now have to suffer through views of a pretty former church that has a few more windows and a little less stained glass.
· Community Board Rejects Central Park West Church-to-Condo Conversion Plan [DNAinfo]
· All 361 Central Park West coverage [Curbed]