Church Moves Closer to Landmark Status, But Sale Looms

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is one step closer to achieving landmark status, but its reverend says the deteriorating building may be sold.
The City Planning Commission voted unanimously March 9 to landmark the century-old church, at 165 W. 86th St. and Amsterdam Avenue. The City Council will now hold a public hearing on the designation and will have a final vote in the matter. But that seems to be a formality.

West Park Presbyterian Church would like to work with a developer to refurbish the crumblng building. Photo by Andrew Schwartz.

Council Member Gale Brewer, whose support is crucial for a full Council vote, has advocated for landmark protection for the church.
But Rev. Robert Brashear has opposed granting the church landmark status. He told West Side Spirit in January that he feared landmarking would have a “chilling effect” on negotiations with developers to help restore the aging, deteriorating building.
Brashear’s “deepest desire” is to have a developer work with the church so the congregation can return and services can be offered.
West Park Presbyterian Church has not hosted any services since 2008; the congregation currently meets at the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew United Methodist Church on West 86th Street and West End Avenue.
But if that plan falls through, Brashear may put the church up on the market, possibly turning the historic church into a commercial space.
“If there are no other possibilities of restoring the building and reopening it for the congregation in some form, then there will be no choice but to see what could be gained on the market,” Brashear said. “Once again it would be a very sad change for the community.”

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