He tore it down, now he’s putting it up for sale.
Developer Abe Betesh — the man whose purchase of the Bay Ridge United Methodist Church led to its October demolition — installed a billboard at the site this week that reads: “For sale or lease: school, medical, non profit, residential.”
Betesh is in contract to buy the cleared land for $9.75 million — cash that worshippers say they need to build a smaller and easier to maintain church on the site.
But the Betesh billboard raised doubts about the future of the site at the corner of Ovington and Fourth avenues — especially among preservationists, who have long feared that the property would be flipped, or worse, not developed at all.
“We might wind up with a big hole on that corner,” said Victoria Hofmo, a member of the Committee to Save the Bay Ridge United Methodist Church.
“The church is down, what are we going to do now? There is a lot of angst, and a lot of loss, for what gain?”
Betesh could not be reached for comment, but he once told The Brooklyn Paper that development sites are often put on the market.
“As a developer, I’m always exploring options,” he said. “It’s not unusual at all for a development site to be on sale.”
In fact, it’s not unusual for the emerald-colored church and its large grounds to be on sale.
In April, the property briefly appeared on the Dakota Realty website for $11.5 million, and there’s also a current listing on the Massey Knakal Web site that indicates the property is actually “in contract” for $12 million.
No matter who ends up owning the site, the church is still planning to build on its parcel, Pastor Robert Emerick said.
“This doesn’t have any impact on the congregation,” said Emerick, whose congregation faced harsh opposition for its plans to replace the aging church with a more affordable structure. “The project is not dead by any means and nothing has happened to hurt the congregation.”
©2008 Community News Group
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