It's not the first time a cash-strapped church has inked a deal with a developer, but it may be the first time a church has written a lease with such exacting specifications: DNAinfo reports that Saint Peter and Paul Church at 321 Wythe Avenue has agreed to lease one of its buildings and its parking lot for $2.1 million a year to Watermark Capital Group who will develop apartments on the site under the condition that certain activities frowned upon by the Catholic Church do not take place on the premises; namely anything associated with stem cells or abortion, which one would hope isn't happening in an apartment anyway.
A clause in the lease bars a variety of activities associated with abortion, birth control, euthanasia, stem-cell research or pornography in the space, including any 'obscene' performances or the sale or distribution of pornographic material. The developer can also not allow the performance of abortions or euthanasia, or counseling on abortion, birth control and euthanasia. They also can't place any signs up on the property that relate to abortion, birth control or euthanasia. Research on human fetal tissue, embryos or euthanasia is also banned on the property. Any violation of these stipulations, the church says, would be grounds for a lawsuit.
Watermark Capital plans on building up the one-story building on Wythe between South 3rd and South 2nd streets into a new apartment building. The church will also have a say in how the building will appear, which unlike the other stipulations is not uncommon. The lease is a long one: there's an option for renewal in 50 and 70 years, and a tiered payment system will increase the church's bounty in time.
· No Porn, Abortion Counseling Allowed at Church's Residential Conversion [DNAinfo]
· Mapping 26 NYC Houses of Worship Being Replaced By Condos [Curbed]
· 16 Religious Buildings Converted Into Co-ops and Condos [Curbed]