Sunday, July 01, 2012

The demise of the (structurally unsound) 1866 Church of the Redeemer near the arena and the mitigation plan (for shadows only) not implemented

From Episcopal Diocese of Long Island web site
As reported by Brownstoner and the Brooklyn Paper, the Church of the Redeemer, a non-landmarked 1866 Gothic Revival church at the northwest corner of Pacific Street and Fourth Avenue, is structurally unsound and will be demolished.

DNAInfo reported:

When a resident asked why the diocese had let the building deteriorate to the point of demolition, rather than maintaining it over the years, [the Rev. Christopher Ballard of the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew and project manager of the Redeemer Project] called it deferred maintenance, where  maintenance and repair of the building is put off for so long that it becomes irreparable.
It will be replaced by a much larger building, up to 120 feet, and is expected to include a church. Commenters wonder whether it will be an improvement on some of the undistinguished residential buildings just down the block.

According to the Episcopal Diocese of  Long Island, the church is already closed:
As of the Spring 2012, the physical location of Redeemer is being redeveloped and the church building has been closed The congregation of Church of The Redeemer is currently worshiping at St. Luke & St. Matthew (Clinton Hill), Brooklyn
As noted by Brownstoner's "Montrose Morris," the church is from another era:
By the 1850’s, Brooklyn was growing rapidly outward from the Fulton Ferry and the riverfront, and the city had reached the Times Plaza area, a part of town that would become a nexus of transportation and commerce in the years to come. By 1853, however, it was the edge of the neighborhood of Boerum Hill.
Photo via Brownstoner
It is "S/NR-eligible"--eligible for the State or National Register of Historic Places, listings that can make a property eligible for tax breaks though with no restrictions, as with city landmarking, on the disposition of the building.

The AY impact

Under the plan for Atlantic Yards, the project sponsors were supposed to help mitigate one set of impacts on the church--shadows--by fixing the windows.

But that plan, never implemented because the nearby building has not been built, would not have addressed the fundamental problems faced by a building, as a Brownstoner commenter suggested, with a crumbling foundation, the result of construction completed long before the adjacent subway was built.

From the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), Chapter 21, Unavoidable Impacts:
The proposed project would result in significant adverse impacts from new shadows cast on the southern portion of the open space of the Atlantic Terminal Houses and on the stained-glass windows of the eastern façade of the Church of the Redeemer.... To fully mitigate the impact on the Church of the Redeemer, the building on Site 5 would be reduced to a maximum height of 200 feet. Reducing the height of these structures would be inconsistent with the goal to establish a high-density, mixed-use project in an area that is well served by necessary infrastructure, particularly transportation. Since issuance of the DEIS, the project sponsors and the church have developed measures to offset the potential effect of the project’s shadows on the stained glass windows. These measures, which would be implemented by the project sponsors prior to the time when the proposed project would cast shadows on the stained glass windows of the church, would include: removing the existing protective coverings from all of the stained glass windows, including any patching and repair associated with the removal; cleaning the interior and exterior of the windows; and installation of new transparent protective coverings of similar or greater durability as the existing coverings. These commitments are detailed in a letter from the project sponsors to Bishop Orris Walker, Jr., and accepted by him on behalf of the Church of the Redeemer on October 31, 2006; this letter has been included in Appendix I of the FEIS.
From the FEIS, Chapter 19, Mitigation:
The proposed Phase I building on Site 5 would cast shadow to the west on the Church of the Redeemer (a S/NR-eligible historic resource) at 24-32 4th Avenue, in the morning during all seasons. In the late spring, summer, and late summer, the durations would be the longest, lasting approximately three hours. These incremental shadows would have a significant adverse impact because they would reduce light to the stained glass windows on the church’s east façade in the morning when church services are typically held. Due to the post-DEIS program modification. the building on Site 5 has been reduced in height and its incremental shadows would move off the Church earlier, at 10:45 AM rather than 11:15 AM in the late spring and at 10:30 AM rather than at 11:15 AM in the summer. Morning services currently begin at 11:00 AM on Sundays. Since issuance of the DEIS, the project sponsors and the church have developed measures to offset the potential effect of the project’s shadows on the stained glass windows. These measures, which would be implemented by the project sponsors prior to the time when the proposed project would cast shadows on the stained glass windows of the church, would include: removing the existing protective coverings from all of the stained glass windows, including any patching and repair associated with the removal; cleaning the interior and exterior of the windows; and installation of new transparent protective coverings of similar or greater durabilityas the existing coverings.

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