First Church of Religious Science Moving to UWS
Lauren Elkies Schram July 18, 2014, 1:26 p.m.
Since moving to 14 East 48th Street five years ago, First Church of Religious Science has essentially been without a congregation, but soon its 600 members will be able to worship under the church’s roof on the Upper West Side, Commercial Observer has learned.
“No one lived within miles of us,” the pastor, Wade Adkisson, told Commercial Observer. “They will not venture forth to 48th Street because it’s so expensive [to get there]. They had to pay $40 for two hours of parking. We’re moving into a neighborhood where people can walk to church.” The church has been holding its Sunday meetings at Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center, at 144 West 165th Street.
Three weeks ago the church signed a contract to purchase the three-story 204 West 84th Street for its new home, Mr. Adkisson said, but due to a confidentiality agreement he wouldn’t disclose any details about the deal. The church moved out of its most recent digs at 14 East 48th Street prior to selling the property more than two weeks ago.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Hidrock Realty bought three lots for $47 million, including the church’s 14 East 48th Street, and plans to erect a residential condominium at the site. Property records filed with the city yesterday indicate the East 48th Street building sold on July 7 for $17.5 million. R. Stuart Gross, executive managing director with Eastern Consolidated, brokered that deal.
Around the same time, the church went into contract for the purchase of Ansonia Properties‘ 204 West 84th Street.
First Church of Religious Science is renovating the first floor of the three-story building on 84th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway, adding an auditorium to the ground floor, Mr. Adkisson said. The renovation will make it “more conducive to meditation and prayer,” he noted. The auditorium should be completed by January.
Hall Oster of Massey Knakal Realty Services represented Ansonia in the Upper West Side deal. He said the asking price was $8.5 million and declined to comment further since the deal hasn’t closed. Matthew Swann represented the church in the deal. He didn’t immediately return a request for comment and nor did Ansonia.