For the past year, Barry Williams has cared for this abandoned property on Home Street.
He cuts the grass in the summer, and shovels snow in the winter.
“It was just the right thing to do,” Williams said. “It looks better.”
A bit of maintenance that cannot quite hide the eyesore this crumbling church has become in this residential neighborhood.
“There’s buildings all around and you look at that right there and it doesn’t look right,” said one neighborhood resident.
The Home Street Presbyterian Church was built in 1910. A burst pipe, internal problems among the congregation and finally, a fire contributed to its demise.
It has been vacant for about five years, yet signs out front suggested it might one day return as a house of worship.
“It doesn’t look good,” said a neighbor. “They need to do something with it.”
Enter Bronx Pro Group — a family owned, Bronx-based developer of subsidized affordable housing.
The developer purchased the 9,500 square-foot plot from the Presbytery of New York in December for $850,000. It plans to replace the church with housing for senior citizens.
“This is going to be a great opportunity to address the needs of seniors,” said John Duddley District Manager of Community Board 3. “We are increasing in that aging population.”
The eight-story building will include 64 studio and one-bedroom apartments.
Thirty percent of them will be reserved for homeless seniors.
Amenities will include a gym, rooftop terrace and a 3,000 square-foot space that will be leased to the Home Street Presbyterian Church to operate as a non-denominational community center.
“I’m happy that happened, because when you have a vested interest in the community,” Williams said. “You want to see that they still remain a stake in the community.”
“On September 14th, Community Board 3 will vote on the project,” said Duddley. “If approved, the community board will give the developer a letter of support.”
If the project clears all the necessary city approvals, construction is expected to begin early next year. The developer says a total cost for the project has not been finalized.