Churches and synagogues throughout the five boroughs may be closing and leasing out their property to developers, but one Evangelical church in Baychester, near the northern edge of the Bronx, is building a new three-story community facility and sanctuary at 1915 Bartow Avenue.
Designed by White-Plains-based architects Peter F. Gaito and Associates., the 19,000-square-foot project will encompass a banquet hall, 500-seat main sanctuary, three children’s chapels, meeting rooms, offices and gardens. The facade will be decidedly modern, clad in stucco, brick, stone and glass, and it will be anchored by a double-height glass atrium. Inside the lobby, there will be a fifteen-foot-wide skylight, two-story stone interior walls and an indoor garden.
In a press release, the architect explained that the building’s look is meant to be “a reductive aesthetic with no extravagant details or ornate religious figures found in traditional churches. This results in carefully designed spaces that allow for more social interaction and meditative focus.”
And like many community facility and affordable projects, the building will incorporate sustainable elements, like daylight sensors for lights, low flow fixtures, rainwater reuse gardens, a water storage tank and recycled materials. It will also include 27 outdoor parking spaces.
The church, Letting Christ Be Known, is moving from a little storefront at 2111 Starling Avenue in Parkchester to the new building. It will fill a huge vacant property on a desolate stretch of Bartow Avenue between Grace and Ely Avenues, a few blocks from Co-Op City and the hulking overpass for I-95.
They paid $750,000 for the 23,000-square-foot site in 2009, or an affordable $36 per buildable square foot.
Construction is expected to wrap in June of 2016.