Preaching the Gospel of Real Estate

A Washington Heights church has divined the gospel of real estate, selling a portion of its land to a developer, who, in turn, will help build a new church three times the size of the old, dilapidated one.

Of course, the developer gets something out of this, too – in this case, the land on which to build a 16-story residential high rise with 75 units; 20 percent of which will be affordable housing.

North Manhattan Development LLC is now in contract to buy the land from Rocky Mount Baptist Church in Washington Heights for approximately $6 million. That’s a 4,286 percent appreciation since 1980, when the church bought the spot for $140,000.

“We had no idea our church was worth that kind of money,” said Rev. Eugene Hudson in a statement. “So when the surveyor told me the news, I was elated, ecstatic, and almost speechless…I really thanked the Lord for that. He must want us to continue to do our good works.”

As part of the terms of the contract, the developers will replace the existing 5,000-square-foot church with a 15,000-square-foot house of worship on the same site, at 37-41 Hillside Avenue.

Even better, the new housing could prove a fertile ground for new congregants.

Construction should be completed in 2010.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been corrected. The original post misidentified the name of the developer.