The demolition of Our Lady of Loreto Roman Catholic Church on the Ocean Hill-Brownsville border has seemed imminent for years, but newly approved demolition permits for the turn-of-the-20th-century structure seem to indicate that its time has come.
Brownstoner first reported the permits, approved on March 24 for a full demolition of the two-story structure at the corner of Pacific and Sackman streets. The demolition permits indicate a proposed job start of March 24, with an expiration in late November 2017, and are issued to Titan Industrial Services Corp.
The demolition permits aren’t the first of their kind for the site. Permits were filed back in June 2016, signaling a major blow to the preservation battle that continues to rage at 126 Sackman Street.
The church was shuttered by the Brooklyn diocese in 2009 after a lack of patronage prohibited the church from remaining adrift. A piecemeal deal was worked out by the diocese and preservationists that allowed the church to remain standing while affordable housing was built on nearby sites that were once owned by the church. Preservationists maintained the hope that the church itself would be used as a community center in the future.
Shortly after the initial demolition permits were filed in June 2016, state Assemblywoman Latrice Walker put forth a petition that called for the church to become a city landmark. The petition also called for the Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens, who leased the site from the diocese, to withdraw its demolition application. That all, however, did not come to pass.
"It would be irresponsible, neglectful and dangerous to leave the site abandoned,” Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, the chief executive for Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens, said after the initial permits were issued. “Therefore, despite high hopes to preserve the property, we will move ahead with plans to demolish the site.”
The Save Our Lady of Loreto Facebook group is actively pushing against the site’s demolition. A recent post from the group reads, “Brownsville deserves a beautiful Landmark, a balanced and inspiring community for all its residents and NYC.”