Two Churches, Two Plans

One former religious institution will become condos, another will have a permanent home in what was a 25-unit multi-family building

04 Sep 2020 | 11:57

As an iconic church recently announced it was being flipped into luxury condos, another finally found a home.

The Church of the Nativity, which has been an anchor on the Lower East Side since 1842 and shuttered in 2015, had been a place residents fought to have affordable housing replace it. But, on Aug. 24, the developer filed plans to build an 11-story building with 87 condos.

While this may paint a bleak picture for religious institutions, as many are being sold off, not all hope is lost. Those on the UES have some good news to cheer about.

After more than 30 years of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church of the East Side not having a home, it finally found a permanent space. On Aug. 14, Redeemer closed on an Upper East Side property at 150 East 91st Street for $29.5 million.

“I think people were used to it [not having a permanent location],” said Cregan Cooke, who does communications for the church. “We always had a vision of having a church on the East Side.”

Located up the street from the 92nd Street Y, the 21,342-square-foot, 25-unit multi-family building will be converted into a 10-story church that will accommodate a 600-person sanctuary, a 300-person fellowship hall with a kitchen, 14 to 17 classrooms and space available 24/7 for congregation and ministries.

There will also be a three-story leadership development center on the top floor for the Redeemer City to City partnership, a nonprofit organization that recruits, trains and coaches leaders who cultivate gospel movements in over 140 global cities.

Redeemer began on the UES in 1989 holding services in a Seventh-Day Adventist congregation on 87th Street. For 25 years it rented space from Hunter College and in 2019, used Temple Israel, 125 East 75th St.

“For a longtime Hunter College served the East Side very well,” Cooke stated. “They’ve been tremendously hospitable.”

In 2016 the church, which has locations downtown, the UWS, Lincoln Square and East Harlem, began its fundraising campaign for a permanent space on the UES.

After four years, their hard work finally came to fruition.

“We’re excited to serve the East Side neighborhood,” Cooke said. “I think there’s a lot of optimism. Even though it’s COVID-19, our vision hasn’t changed.”

There will be a budget proposal presented in a few months, demolition and breaking ground will take place in 2021 and the church will open in early 2023.

“We’re excited to serve the East Side neighborhood. I think there’s a lot of optimism.” Cregan Cooke of Redeemer Presbyterian Church