Astoria, Real Estate
Apr 25, 2017

The Future of the Augustana ELCA Location

What’s up with the Augustana ELCA church site.

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RIP church—you were a community resource, a place of refuge, and a place of worship for decades. See demolition carnage here, here, and here.

Just over the border of Astoria (Hazen Street) is East Elmhurst and the location of what used to be Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church (here’s info on the church body itself). According to the DOB, on April 7 paperwork was filed for five addresses associated with the church—69-03, 69-05, 69-07, and 69-09 Ditmars Boulevard, plus 21-67 Hazen Street. From what we can tell, at each address there is planned a 3-story, 3-unit residential building.


The architect for this project is Carusone & Cherres, who specialize in designing residential and mixed-use buildings. And I gotta say, in my opinion, they fall squarely in the “uninspired” category, for the most part. I do not expect anything interesting looking to go up on these properties, and I’d even go so far as to say there is a good chance they will be five eyesores—something Queens does not need. My hope is that they will be awesome inside and built with quality materials by skilled people. No off-street parking spaces are part of the plan—not the best news, especially since this location is car-friendly due to its location being rather far from the subway.

The property was sold in 2015 for $2.3 million and the current owner is Andrew Zoitas, who also purchased a property at 21-03 31st Avenue.

Augustana ELCA merged with Grace Lutheran in 2015, but it had been around for a long time. According to Forgotten New York, it “was established in 1897 as the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Salem Church of Long Island City on Pomeroy (now 37th) Street near 24th Avenue.” The church constructed a new building on Ditmars “was completed on January 28, 1963 and a Certificate of Occupancy was issued three days later. The finished product is a beautiful red brick church that has served the varied needs of the Augustana congregation, as well as those of many of our neighbors and friends, for more than 40 years and will continue to do so far into the future.” Looks like that prediction didn’t come true.

The paperwork is on hold due to an incomplete drawing status, so the plan has NOT been approved, but no doubt it will be. I’ll be curious to see how it all turns out.

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

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