by Mark Hallum, June 14

The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has begun its review of a hardship application for an Upper West Side church to have its historic designation removed, something the church is pushing for but the local community board shot down.

LPC Commissioner Sarah Carroll told the public in a Tuesday hearing that the preservation commission would not make any sudden changes to the West-Park Presbyterian Church’s designation, with site visits planned and a decision expected in about a month…

But preservationists and politicians, namely Councilmember Gale Brewer, have said their own repair estimates put the costs closer to $20 million, and they started a fight to save the historic property.

“It is really important to be vigilant as a society when religious landmarks are threatened because they are readily adaptable,” Brewer said during Tuesday’s hearing. “We have a nonprofit that is still there every day. The walls are not falling down on top of anybody.”

Brewer also claimed that all the publicity surrounding West-Park has led another church to express interest in buying the property. She concluded her remarks with a criticism of some of the designs put forth by the developers during the hearing: “I want to point out that this quote-unquote new building, with all due respect, is ugly.”

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