By Carter B. Horsley
The design of a 21-story apartment
building on part of the site of the West-Park Presbyterian Church
on the northeast corner of 86th Street and Amsterdam Avenue was
presented to the housing committee of Community Board 7 in 2008
by the church and Richman Housing Services.
The presentation was informational
and did not require review by Community Board 7. In 2009, the
city's Landmarks Preservation Commission held a hearing on possible
designation of the church.
The building will contain 50
"affordable" rental apartments and 27 "market-rate"
condominium apartments, 25,000 square feet of community space
and new skylit congregation space near the top of the existing
sanctuary structure just to the west of the church's prominent
clocktower, which is being preserved.
Bill Traylor, president of
Richman Housing Services and an 86th Street resident, told a crowded
meeting at the Goddard Riverside Community Center at 593 Amsterdam
Avenue that the affordable apartments, all studios on floors 5
through 10, will have a separate entrance that will be part of
the surviving red-sandstone façade and that the condo apartments
will have their own entrance with a marquee in the new mid-block
tower that cantilevers slightly over the rear of the sanctuary
structure. The condos will be on floors 11 through 21.
Some members of the public
attending the meeting said that separate entrances was "segregation"
and Mr. Traylor replied that for financing reasons the church,
the affordable housing section and the condo sections needed to
be legally separate and that the intent is for the affordable
units to be in perpetuity and not subject to the whims of the
condominium owners. Mr. Traylor's company is the sixth largest
residential property owner in the United States.
In response to a question by
John Michael Ziegler, the head of the board of trustees of the
Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew on the northeast corner of 86th
Street and West End Avenue, where the West-Park Presbyterian Church
will conduct services during the construction project, Mr. Traylor
said that the physical condition of the existing church was poor
and that his company is paying the church $15 million for the
development rights and that $5 million of that will create an
endowment fund for the church and that if the renovation and construction
of the church space costs more than $10 million his company will
pay for it.
He said that construction is
expected to take about two years to complete, adding that the
plan is not using about 10,000 square feet of the church's development
rights. He said his company was not pursuing other development
rights that have been offered by adjacent properties and that
his company and the church want the project to be in context with
A single person making less
than $24,000 would be eligible for the affordable units, he said,
adding that the Goddard Riverside Community Center, which is on
88th Street, has a waiting list of about 4,000 seniors.
Franke Gottsegen Cox is the
church's architect and SCLE is the architect for Richman. The
buff-colored brick tower will have a limestone base that apparently
is modeled a bit after the sinuous curves at the base of 19 West
The Rev. Robert Brasheer told
the meeting that that a plan advanced by the Friends of West-Park
did not generate sufficient funds to cover the renovation costs
especially when the Trevor Day School opted not to pursue the
One speaker at the meeting,
Mosette Broderick, said that West-Park "is the only Richardsonian
building left in Manhattan" and that Henry Richardson did
not try to "clone" Europe and that the church's planned
new space in the project was "rather sad looking" and
that the new project should not be "banal" and "look
like Houston or Dallas."
The building is not an official
city landmark and was designed in 1890 by Henry F. Kilburn.