(Photo by Kavitha Surana)

193 Henry Street (Photo by Kavitha Surana)

Demolition papers have been filed for the old Mount Zion Church of Christ at 193 Henry Street. The red-brick building, once home to a busy congregation led by Rev. Charles Leonard, has been vacant for four years. It was bought by Daniel Wise last year and quickly put on the market as a”development site” by Eastern Consolidated.

It’s still for sale for $5.5 million, but since no buyer has come forward yet, Wise is moving ahead with demolition, likely to be followed by construction of a six-story mixed-use condo project with a community facility on the bottom.

Wise declined to comment because plans for the new building haven’t been approved and there may be some back and forth. He also doesn’t seem to fit any usual developer profile– he’s a music producer who ran The Shed recording studio on Third Avenue and apparently once opened for Tom Petty. His websites bio says he was “born and raised in pick-up truck and shotgun land in the Appalachian Mountains.”

201-203 Broadway (Photo by Kavitha Surana)

201-203 Broadway (Photo by Kavitha Surana)

Wise also owns the lots on the other side of the block, at 201-203 East Broadway, next to the Manny Cantor center. This was formerly the site of the United Hebrew Community, a Jewish burial society established in 1901. (Does it seem like Wise has an appetite for old religious sites?) As YIMBY previously reported, the two lots will eventually turn into one building with 10 modular apartments, stacked above retail and community spaces. Think! Architecture and Design is on tap to design both buildings.

According to Kerri Culhane, associate director of Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, the Mount Zion Church is an early 19th century row house that was originally two and a half or three-stories. It was raised to its current four-story height and given a new Italianate/Neo-Greco-type cornice in 1875 by architect J.B. Snook.
She added that the building is within the boundary of the LES National Register Historic District, so if the owner wanted to rehab it instead of tear it down, they’d be eligible for a 40 percent tax credit on the cost of rehabilitation.