Neighbors and parishioners of an East Village church are steaming mad over a developer’s plans to demolish the 96-year-old building for market-rate apartments — and it’s just one of many historic holy houses in need of divine intervention.
Douglas Steiner, head of the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Steiner Studios, bought Mary Help of Christians on East 12th Street for $41 million in November. Now he has permits to raze the sacred site, which includes a rectory, school and parking lot, for residential property with ground-floor retail.
But preservationists say the Roman Catholic church can be saved.
“This is heartbreaking,” said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. “We hope [Steiner] can see the light and realize it’s advantageous to use something that’s special rather than demolishing it for something that’s a dime a dozen.”
The church closed in September as part of the Archdiocese’s plan to shut down 21 parishes due to declining attendance.
Nicholas Serracino, the Archdiocese’s chief architect at the time, styled the Italian Renaissance Revival church after Italy’s Basilica of Mary Help of Christians.
Also likely condemned to the wrecking ball is the 140-year-old St. Vincent de Paul on West 23rd Street in Chelsea.
The church’s former pastor, the Rev. Gerald Murray, told The Post the Archdiocese plans to sell the building, which was given a Classical Revival limestone façade in 1939.
In Soho, the century-old Our Lady of Vilnius is on the market for $13 million — more than a year after parishioners lost a lawsuit against the Archdiocese to stop the Romanesque Revival church’s demolition.
Boerum Hill locals have so far delayed the demise of Church of the Redeemer, which was rumored to be knocked down for a new residential building and church hybrid.
The 150-year-old Gothic Revival building closed last summer because it is structurally unsound. A spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island, which owns the property, says church officials are still weighing their options for the site.
Meanwhile, Harlem residents are bristling at the partial demolition of St. Thomas the Apostle, a 106-year-old Roman Catholic parish on West 118th Street. The Gothic Revival church was first established for Irish immigrants.
Still, miracles do happen. St. Brigid’s Church in the East Village was spared the wrecking ball in 2008 after an anonymous $20 million donation. It reopened in January