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Old Posted Oct 13, 2014, 7:56 PM
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Smile NEW YORK | 123 W. 57th | FT | FLOORS

Extell in Talks to Buy Midtown Church Property
Site Is Short Walk from Development Firm’s One57 Tower

Oct. 13, 2014

The developer of the One57 condominium project that soars 90 stories over Central Park is negotiating to purchase another development site just a couple of lots away, the current now site of the Calvary Baptist Church.

Gary Barnett ’s Extell Development Co., is in talks with the Calvary Baptist, which owns its church building at 123 W. 57th St., and the Salisbury Hotel on West 57th, according to documents posted on the church’s website and available in its lobby.

A report in September from the church’s board to its membership says the church has signed a letter of intent with Extell Development Corp. that allows the board to begin negotiations with Extell regarding potential redevelopment of the church’s property.

According to public records, the church and hotel occupy about 191,000 square feet.

The church’s documents also say that FXFOWLE Architects and Extell’s architectural team are working together to present a design concept.

Representatives for Extell and the church didn’t respond to requests for comment. Members of the firms that the church has hired either didn’t respond or declined requests for comment.

Extell also owns a 15-story apartment building directly backing onto the church and hotel site at 134 W. 58th St.

Many churches around the city are struggling with mounting maintenance costs as their buildings age. At the same time, many also sit on some of the most valuable land in the city. A growing number have been selling their land to developers and either moving to new locations or striking deals with developers to allow them to build over top of church facilities.

While it is unclear what Mr. Barnett’s plans are, if he were to successfully purchase the church and hotel and move forward with a new development on the street, it could reignite controversy about development on the street, where community leaders are concerned that luxury towers are casting shadows on Central Park.

Hopefully, it will be something along the lines of 111 W. 57th (another neighbor), where the new construction is an extension rather than a replacement.
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