They say it takes a village to raise a child but what do you call it when a man builds a village?
New York City’s 40,000-member Christian Cultural Center is planning to build a $1.2 billion affordable housing development project on its 10.5-acre campus in Brooklyn, pastor A.R. Bernard announced earlier in the month.
Pastor Bernard has partnered with the Gotham Organization, a real estate developer, to transform the land around the church into an all-encompassing campus of nine residential buildings with 2,100 units for very low to middle-income residents, as well as a school, a grocery store and on-site services for seniors.
The development would mark one of the most ambitious projects in an area of Brooklyn that has seen a spurt in construction.
“The mindset in inner-city conditions is doing everything you can to get out and not come back,” said Mr. Bernard, whose 43,000-member congregation makes the church, founded as a storefront church in Williamsburg in 1978, a requisite stop for any politician on the campaign trail. “Here you’re talking about, ‘Wow. I want to stay. I want to experience this community. There’s a future. There’s hope.’”
The pastor, who has a master’s degree in urban studies, has long been a vocal supporter of preserving the affordability of the 5,581 apartments at the complex and was even immersed in a group that tried to buy it.
“The gentrification of Brooklyn is not the future,” Mr. Bernard said. “It’s happening now, and I think that this is a very creative response to that reality.”
Politicians talk that talk. Good to see a pastor is about that action.