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West Park Hardship Application Withdrawn

We are delighted that West Park Presbyterian Church has a new lease on life. The applicants who were requesting to demolish this Romanesque Revival beauty withdrew their proposal to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) late this afternoon.

A final vote from the Commission had been expected on Tuesday. An LPC representative said the application was withdrawn because an issue with a tenant’s lease was open. It was unlikely that the lease issue would be resolved quickly. One of the conditions for “hardship” is that the building could be demolished immediately.

West Park Presbyterian Church – 165 West 86th Street, Upper West Side

West Park is an Upper West Side landmark that still needs a lot of work. We hope that The Center at West Park, the building’s tenants, will now be able to raise the funds to purchase the landmark and keep it in community use.

The applicants had argued that the costs to restore the Church were so overwhelming that the building must come down.

The Conservancy has a long history with this building and other historic religious properties. For 20 years, our staff has made numerous attempts to support the preservation of West Park. These include referrals, reports, repair grants, and countless hours of pro bono assistance. Based on that experience, we questioned the applicant’s proposed scope of work and budget for exterior restoration.

We were pleased to see the Commission’s own engineering consultant ask similar questions and present a much lower budget, which could be phased over time, to allow for a long-term fundraising campaign.

This is not the end of the story. We look forward to working with The Center at West Park, with local elected officials, and other advocates to ensure that this stunning landmark continues to anchor this neighborhood.

Peg Breen, President
The New York Landmarks Conservancy

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