The Bowne Street Community Church is en route to being landmarked by the city after a decade-long wait.
The City Council’s Landmarks Committee, led by Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing), unanimously voted on Tuesday to approve the church’s designation. That was followed by a vote of approval by the Council’s Land Use Committee on Wednesday. The decision will be finalized with a full City Council vote next week, where the measure is expected to pass.
The designation was first sought by members of the community in 2002 after the church’s building committee proposed demolishing the building to allow the development of a 20-story residential building in exchange for a new church and a $1 million payment, according to Koo’s office. It was initially slated for designation in 2003 by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), but had been delayed over negotiations and backlogged until this past December, when the LPC voted in favor of designation.
The original 2003 proposal would have designated the entire lot, including a parking lot and annex. That became a point of discussion throughout the church’s designation process as Koo worked with LPC to redraw the designation map to exclude the parking lot and annex, leaving the church with 100,000 square feet of potential development rights and still preserving the original structure of the Bowne Street Church. The current designation applies only to the exterior walls and windows of the church.