361 CPW mock-up Oct 29 2014
A view of the Crenshaw Church from a nearby building. The wood structures are mock-ups of what the additions could look like when the church is turned into condos. Via Landmark West.

Developers plan to transform the 111-year-old Crenshaw Church on the corner of 96th street and Central Park West into condos, and have been building a mock-up on top of the church to show the Landmarks Preservation Commission what the additions would look like.

Hearings to debate the project have been set, according to Landmark West, which appears to be wary of the project.

“Landmark West will be watching this carefully, and when (not if) the time comes to evaluate a proposal for further building on the landmark site, we’ll be ready. Please contact your neighbors and elected officials about this proposal.”

We’ve written about the lengthy asbestos removal process and protests at the site. The Times wrote about the proposal in September:

“Architects representing the owner, 361 Central Park L.L.C., have applied to the commission for permission to replace the windows and add others. A spokeswoman for the commission, Damaris Olivo, said the application also sought permission for a new metal-and-glass entrance on West 96th Street and an addition on the roof. Whether replacing or adding windows constitutes an alteration to the building’s exterior remains to be determined.”

church 96th3A lawyer for the developers said their “prime motivation and goal is to restore this building and preserve it and keep it beautiful” but noted that the project is quite complicated and “will require some alteration to the building’s facade.”

Landmark West says the meetings are set for the following dates (we added some info on expected timing):

1) Community Board 7 Preservation Committee Meeting: Thursday, November 13 at 6:30pm (discussion of the church is expected to start at 8 p.m. Community Board 7 Meetings are usually held at the Board Office, 250 West 87th Street (West of Broadway).

2) LPC Public Hearing: Tuesday, November 18, time to be determined – the ONLY opportunity you will have to speak before the LPC. It is crucial that you show up for this hearing since the LPC’s decisions are legally binding. LPC Hearings are held at the Municipal Building, 1 Centre Street, 9th Floor North.

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 8 comments | permalink
    1. Paul RL says:

      I’m all for this project! My hope is that the developers will have a smart, aesthetic plan that doesn’t compromise the beauty of the original structure. My hope is also that our Community Board doesn’t get in the way (like they usually do) and try to roadblock it under the guise of “protecting” the Upper West Side. This will be a nice improvement for the area.

      • Pedestrian says:

        Developers are rarely interested in anything but cash so I wouldn’t hold my breath.

        The Community Board is supposed to have both the neighborhood and the protection of the landmark building mind when it analyses the plans developers put forward relating to landmarked properties or buildings located in historic districts. Their observations and opinions aren’t “road blocks”. U fortunately no matter how useful their work is the LPC treats their opinions with little deference and that is too bad.

        The LPC has walked away from its obligation to protect landmarks and become more of a rubber stamp for developers doing what it can to freeze out public comment. I hope they treat this project differently they have have others. It is time the LPC did its job instead of protecting developers profits.

    2. Aunt Renie says:

      I have no doubt that it will be ANOTHER COLD UGLY GLASS structure so commonly designed by junior architects with no imagination or sensitivity to the community and no good taste. Their bosses, Presidents & CEO’s will claim all the glory and $$$ by cost cutting, using cheap labor, products & material. The LPC is asleep at the wheel. Are they going to renovate and update the IND Line that runs underneath to accommodate all the new riders? Will the MTA open up the old 95th St. entrance/exit on CPW that was closed 40years ago. Wake up LPC and work for the community….lip service is not enough.

    3. George Williams says:

      A Carrère & Hastings building–NY developers springing for an “equivalent” architect to remodel? I doubt it, but hope springs eternal.

      What are the plans with the John La Farge window and Hutchings-Votey organ? The latter needed work and one hopes it went to a good home.

      It should be an entertaining hearing in a city that often loses its way with regard to architectural history.

    4. Kindly Dr Dave says:

      This is a very challenging adaptation, for the architects and for the LPC. Thanks for covering the developments.

    5. Lilly Kelly says:

      Well, this is one way to get rid of the two homeless individuals that sleep on the steps each and every night… for many, many years.

      Also come the high holy days for those of the Jewish faith, they will now have to look to rent another large house of worship space to celebrate their major holidays.

      This is a beautiful church, inside and out and I would love to see it remain a house of worship. are you listening LPC?

      Every Thanksgiving Day Parade the networks show the old black and white “Miracle on 34th Street” with Natalie Wood. When they show the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade floats going down Central Park West — you can still pick out most of the same pre-war buildings from the 1940’s. That was and is the beauty of Central Park West.

      And although this former Christian Science Church/Crenshaw Center was not in that movie it is a reminder of the architectural beauty of this city. So much for preserving history.

    6. A Concerned Neighbor says:

      The Landmarks Commission was asleep at the switch when the Crenshaw group moved in to this exquisite structure, stripping-off historic plaques and drilling into the limestone exterior with bolts to stretch new digitally printed (and illegal) vinyl banners as well as hardware to mount cheap non-conforming awnings and signs. The current work, which has involved stripping the interior many of its architectural treasures such as its elaborate brass chandeliers is being carried out by non-union labor accompanied by noisy, daily protests.

      • 92nd Street says:

        LPC cannot protect an interior unless it as been Landmarked, most Landmarked properties only consist of the facades.

        It’s use is up to it’s owner, but let’s hope LPC has the guts to see this Landmark protected and unmolested by todays typical Developer that has zero style or respect for the City.