July 3rd 2014
New York Daily News
A century-old landmark church overlooking Central Park at 361 Central Park West is the latest domino to fall in the ongoing Manhattan game of church to condo conversions, following a $26 million sale.
The Crenshaw Christian Center, formerly known as the First Church of Christ, Scientist, will be transformed into between 20 and 30 luxury pads, the Daily News has learned .
The L.A.-based Christian Center bought the historic building for $14 million 10 years ago.
The Central Park-facing church was built in 1906 and has 60-foot ceilings. At 30,000 square feet, the sale price comes to a higher than average $866 per foot.
The Beaux-Arts building can’t be knocked down, but its enormous interiors can be sliced up into individual residences.
The developer will have to maintain some of the church’s historic details, such as its celebrated stained glass windows, since the exterior of the building is landmarked.
The residences are likely to command ungodly prices, since inventory on the Upper West Side has hit historic lows, brokers said.
“Being on Central Park West with park views, the sky is the limit for a well-conceived condo project, particularly on the Upper West Side where there’s been no new product this cycle” said Jason Haber, a broker with Warburg Realty.
Chip Porter of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, who brokered the deal, declined to comment on the transaction or identify the buyer.
The church is just the latest in a string of historic religious buildings to be snapped up by developers in recent months as land scarcity drives investors to consider more complex deals and conversions.
The Park Avenue Christian Church at 1010 Park Ave. is reportedly set to be converted into a 16-story condo tower with 17 residences, and developer Agime Group recently bought Our Lady of Vilnius church in Tribeca for $18.4 million with condos in mind.
Madison Avenue Baptist Church also recently sold its 1906 parish house at 30 East 31st St. for $15.6 million to real estate investment company Certes Partners.