Vahdat, who heads Elmo Realty and Empire Development Fund, plans to take over and demolish the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church at 58 West 135th Street to make way for a new 30,000-square-foot residential building, court documents indicate. The ground floor and cellar of the building — totaling 11,000 square feet— will be a new church space, while the remaining space will be dedicated to rentals or condos. About 1,100 square feet on the first floor will be set aside as an apartment for the pastor.
The Harlem church, a two-story building originally built as a theater in 1915, has required a number of repairs over the years. The church decided to cut a deal with Vahdat because it couldn’t keep up with the cost of maintaining the building, according to court documents filed with the state Supreme Court on Friday.