Monday, July 20, 2015

Church of the Redeemer, near Barclays Center, facing demolition

The Wall Street Journal, in an article published online last night, reports A Brooklyn Church Is About to Vanish: Church of the Redeemer, established soon after the Civil War, is due for demolition:
A year after the Civil War ended, an Episcopal church opened on Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn to serve waves of immigrants arriving from England.
More than a century later, the stately Church of the Redeemer served a different population of immigrants: from the Caribbean and West Indies. “We had 16 to 18 flags for different islands…Jamaica, Antigua, St. Lucia,” said Anderson Holder, who moved to Brooklyn from Barbados 30 years ago and attended the church for seven years. “There were all different countries coming to the Church of the Redeemer.”
That rich history is about to end with the demolition of the Gothic-style stone church, which was closed in 2010 and later sold to an investment company, the Jackson Group, for $20 million as part of the real-estate boom around Barclays Center. No plans have been set for the site, said a Jackson representative.
A company called Demolition Depot is selling the contents of the church. The "Long Island Episcopal Diocese has closed, merged or repurposed five churches in Brooklyn and Queens" in the past decade, the newspaper report, the result of declining attendance and rising repair and maintenance costs.

“I ordered the church closed for life-safety issues,” Bishop Lawrence Provenzano told the paper, though Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon blamed the diocese for not maintaining the building. (Simon said a developer had been found to repurpose the structure while maintaining church space, while the 
Bishop said the proposal was never officially received.)

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