EXCLUSIVE: Senior housing eyed for site of closed Sunset church

A not-for-profit organization and the New York Metropolitan Lutheran Synod are moving toward a deal whereby the shuttered Zion Lutheran Church on Fourth Avenue at 63rd Street would be torn down to be replaced by an eight-story residential building that would contain a mix of senior and affordable housing for low-income families.

The plan being pursued by the Fifth Avenue Committee with the backing of the synod calls for a new structure in place of the old church and adjacent building that would conform to existing zoning along the strip, where density was increased in 2008 during the overall rezoning of Sunset Park, part of a deal to preserve the neighborhood’s low rise residential side streets. The purpose of so doing, in the 2008 rezoning, was to “Create opportunities and incentives for affordable housing,” according to the Department of City Planning.

At this point, there is a memorandum of understanding between the synod and the Fifth Avenue Committee, but the property has not yet been sold.


Early renderings of the proposed building show a setback at six stories, to reduce the apparent bulk of the structure. In addition, directly adjacent to the townhouses, the height of the structure would be reduced to four stories.

The new development would include 49 apartments for low-income seniors, 55 and older (who make up to $34,550 annually, with rents up to $751 per month based on income), as well as 18 apartments for low-income families (with incomes between $27,640 and $69,040 per year, with rents based on income up to $913 for a one-bedroom, $1,123 for a two-bedroom, and $1,292 for a three-bedroom apartment).

The combination is considered intergenerational housing, to accommodate seniors who want to live in such a setup, though there would also be two floors of only senior housing, for those seniors who prefer it.

Besides the new construction, two adjacent townhouses at 414 and 416 63rd Street would be included in the project. They would be restored, and would include three apartments for low-income families in each. No parking is included in the project.

The plan is for the ground floor and cellar of the new building to house the next-door health center, whose lease is winding down.

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