March 5, 2019
The city’s real estate industry isn’t known for showing mercy. But as New York continues to grapple with an affordable housing crisis, developers are increasingly teaming up with institutions known for doing just that.
Big property deals and new developments involving churches are on the rise, sources say, from Ebenezer Plaza in Brownsville to Trinity Church’s growing presence in Hudson Square.
Brisa’s chair and CEO, Ericka Keller, cited several reasons why churches would look to sell their properties or team up with a private sponsor — from declining attendance to costly renovation needs. She also said many banks won’t lend directly to churches, since the majority lack a consistent revenue stream.
Brian Hsu, a real estate attorney at Goldstein Hall, echoed that point. “Most churches are based on grants and donations that are not steady,” he said. “So if they are finding a lender, it’s just based upon land values. Unfortunately, a lot of times those are predatory loans.”
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