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Remains of Fire-Damaged Serbian Orthodox Church Could Be Torn Down

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The landmarked Flatiron church could also lose its landmark designation

Max Touhey

The fate of the Serbian Orthodox Church Cathedral of St. Sava has been determined, and the news is not good. The New York Post reports that the 160-year-old church, which was gutted by a fire on May 1, could be torn down by order of the city. According to the Department of Buildings, the structure sustained a significant amount of damage during the fire, to the degree that it’s not stable enough to be left standing.

As of right now, church leaders haven’t determined if they will rebuild in the same place or relocate the congregation to a new building in a different location. "It is way premature to say what we would like to do," Lidija Nikolic, a member of the church's executive board, told the Post.

There’s another wrinkle in this plan, too, with larger real estate implications. The Landmarks Preservation Commission told the Post that if the church is indeed torn down, there’s a chance that its designation as a NYC landmark could be revoked, particularly if the congregation relocates. If that happens, the site it's currently sitting on could see a new, larger building go up. (Yikes.)

UPDATE: The Times's David Dunlap reports that the DOB has not yet finished its investigation at the building, and has yet to render a final decision on the fate of the church. “We don’t see that it’s impossible to stabilize the structure and preserve what remains while ensuring that public safety is not compromised,” a spokesperson for the agency told the Times. Curbed regrets the error.

Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava

20 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010 (212) 242-9240 Visit Website