The owners of an over 50-year-old church in Williamsburg are opposing a proposal to landmark the building, and part of the local community board is now in agreement with them, DNAinfo reports. Historic preservationists recommended landmarking the Ukrainian Church in Exile's Beaux-Arts style building located at 177 South 5th Street, but leaders of the church say that such a move would only add to the church's costs.
Members of Brooklyn Community Board One's land use committee supported this decision and voted against landmarking the property.
The Church purchased the building in the 1960s, and in the intervening years has raised over $2 million to maintain the historic character of the building. The Church administration argues that landmarking the building will increase maintenance costs. Furthermore they say the fact that the Church has maintained the building so far means they no intention of selling the building either.
Historic preservationists who work with the New York Landmark Conservancy, who recommended the building be landmarked, told DNAinfo that such a move will actually allow the Church to apply for grants set aside for such religious buildings and that the city itself has grants for upkeep of the facade on landmarked buildings.
The full board still has to vote on the landmarks petition this month, even though their decision isn't binding and acts more as a recommendation to the city's Landmarks Commission. Prior to it being a church, the building on South 5th Street was formerly home to a courthouse and a Williamsburg Trust Company bank.
The development in Williamsburg follows a similar ongoing disagreement on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, where the owners of the historic Provident Loan Bank building are opposed to the building being landmarked.