A long-vacant Jamaica church is about to be resurrected as a performing arts center.
Work crews were busy last week putting the finishing touches on a $22 million renovation that transformed the former First Reformed Church of Jamaica at Jamaica Ave. and 153rd St. into the Jamaica Performing Arts Center.
The city, which owns the property, is set to turn over its operation to the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning later this month or early next month.
Curtain rises at new Jamaica Performing Arts Center
The church was founded by Dutch merchants. The original building near 162nd St. and Jamaica Ave. was completed in 1715. A new church was built at the present location in 1833. A fire destroyed the wood structure in 1857 and a brick church was built on the site two years later.
In the 1990s there were plans to tear down the church to make way for a Social Security Administration building. But the church was landmarked, so the feds planned to use it as an auditorium. The development corporation later stepped in to preserve it for future use, Towery said.