Ditmas Park residents are fighting against the clock to save a nearly century-old church that’s slated for demolition, the Brooklyn Paper reports. In May last year, the owners of the church, known as the Baptist Church of the Redeemer, filed plans with the city’s Department of Buildings to replace the church with a nine-story affordable housing building.
Now local residents are making a last ditch effort to have the building landmarked before it is bulldozed. But with demolition plans having been filed in February, there might not be much the Landmarks Commission can do in time.
What’s more, the project has the backing of the church, which says the cost of upkeep is too high, and that affordable housing will benefit the neighborhood. The church struck a deal with the Mutual Housing Association of New York to build a 76-unit structure with a mix of affordable apartments, homes for seniors, and supportive units.
At nine-stories tall, residents argue that the building will also tower above neighboring buildings, according to the Brooklyn Paper, but the project is well within the existing zoning laws, and hence the developer won’t have to seek any special permits to move forward.
While the Department of Buildings hasn’t signed off on the project just yet, it seems unlikely that the Landmarks Commission will be able to save the building in time—the application is currently before the Commission’s staff for consideration. The church was designed by noted Brooklyn architect Frank J. Helmle, and built in 1919.