In The Press - St. Charles Borromeo Church To Convert Former Convent

St. Charles Borromeo Church To Convert Former Convent

New Parish Center will include offices, chapel, flexible meeting spaces. BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) yesterday approved proposed changes to the exterior of the former convent at 31 Sidney Place in Brooklyn Heights.

Commissioners approved the church’s application to construct both a stoop and a barrier-free access ramp at the building, described by the LPC as a Greek Revival-style rowhouse built in 1846. An architects rendering of how the exterior of the former convent will look with the restored stoop and other proposed changes approved yesterday by Landmarks.

“We are restoring a stoop removed years ago to go back to the character of the neighborhood and match the adjacent historic buildings,” the Rev. Edward P. Doran, the sole priest in residence, told the Eagle yesterday.

The earlier wide stoop was “classically inspired,” with wrought iron handrails, fence and newels, he said.. The ramp will make the entire building accessible.

“Parishioners in wheelchairs can’t get into the church offices,” he said. “Now they will have access by a ramp that is a gradual decline to the offices on the lower level.”

The interior of the four-story building will then be reconfigured as a Parish Center to include new rectory offices, a Eucharistic Adoration chapel, flexible meeting spaces for religious education, and spaces for performances and parish social events, as well as housing for resident priests.

Currently, Doran said he is living in the church in what used to be a groundskeeper’s apartment. The church’s offices will also relocate to the church — accessible through the Aitken Street entrance — until the renovation and reconstruction is completed.

A check of Department of Buildings documents revealed an approved application for the interior partition and renovation work.

The architect for both the exterior and interior work is Brooklyn architect Gary Maranga, principal of The Design Alliance Architecture and Planning.

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