Posts Tagged ‘christianity’
Back in February, DNA Info New York’s Matthew Katz had an interesting piece about how Manhattan’s French Evangelical Church, a vintage but decaying church catering to Francophone Protestants, was going to experience a much-needed renovation thanks to fund from developers.
The situation reminds me a bit of reports of St. Vincent de Paul, a Roman Catholic church with a traditionally Francophone congregation that was also facing closure. I’ve not found any reports as to the church’s current status, with the Catholic Church apparently wanting to close the building down while parishoners wanted to keep it open.
The church sold its neighboring building at 124 W. 16th St. to Einhorn Development Group for $4 million in 2012, and later sold the air rights above the church for an undisclosed amount, allowing the developer to build an 11-story, 14-unit condo next-door.
Dan Nicolas, a member of the board of trustees, said the much-needed repairs — which will cost about $2 million in all — will be entirely funded by the cash from Einhorn, helping the unique French-language church survive.
Neighbors on the street have complained the sale will allow Einhorn to build a tall structure that’s out of place on the low-rise block, but church supporters and Einhorn say the deal will help save the church itself.
“The timing is excellent,” Nicolas said. “The supporting walls, the core structure, it could’ve collapsed at any time because they were in such bad shape.”
The church’s congregation, about 100 strong, is made up of French speakers from Haiti and several African countries. It’s one of the few French-speaking places of worship left in Manhattan.
The renovation, which is being planned by architect Rodney Leon, will add heating and air conditioning, reinforce walls, repair archways and ceilings, remove asbestos and renovate rear living quarters for the church’s caretaker and pastor.