Historic Church That Housed Occupy Sandy Offers Air Rights for $8.6M

By Janet Upadhye on March 4, 2014 3:53pm 

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 Air rights for Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew 43,000 square feet of excess property are on sale for $8.6 million.
Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew
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CLINTON HILL — A financially struggling historic church that served as the home base for Occupy Sandy volunteers is looking to sell off a chunk of its property just blocks from the Barclays Center for nearly $9 million, according to church officials and reports.

The piece of property at The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew, on Clinton Avenue and Fulton Street, can be sold for development or as 43,000 square feet of air rights. But under the terms of the deal, the landmarked Romanesque Revival church, built in 1891, can not be sold or demolished, as BuzzBuzzHome first reported.

"We would not do anything that would harm the church or change the streetscape on Clinton Avenue," the Rev. Christopher Ballard told DNAinfo New York. "Our preference is to sell the air rights only."

Air rights are unused or excess development privileges that are transferable, when zoning rules permit, from one buildable lot to another.

The church is asking $8.6 million for their excess land that currently houses a rectory and parking lot, according to a listing on Halstead Property titled "Close to Barclay [Center]: 43,000 SF site."

Landmarks can sell air rights to neighbors across the street or down the block, allowing them to expand, according to Ballard.

Ballard said money from the sale would help with operating costs and caring for the historic building.

"Contrary to popular belief, the church has no money," he joked, adding: "We need to sustain our ministry."

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