Rectory & Rhinelander Bldg
Administration
Thursday
Sep072017

Our Rectory and the Building Next Door

Possibilities for the Holy Trinity Rectory in relation to a New Neighbor                           

The Rhinelander Building at 350 East 88th Street, has been purchased by Mr. Arun Alagappan and his company Advantage Testing, Inc.  Advantage Testing specializes in one-on-one academic tutoring, educational counseling, & test preparation for the SAT, ACT, GMAT, LSAT and other standardized tests. Advantage Testing also runs a public charity that offers programs for students of modest means, that would also be housed at the Rhinelander.  However, the majority of the building space would be dedicated to the for-profit enterprise.

Because the Rhinelander Building is zoned for non-profit use, Advantage Testing has asked The Church of the Holy Trinity’s cooperation in obtaining a special permit that will allow Advantage's for-profit tutoring business and foundation to operate at 350 East 88th Street. Advantage has applied for the special permit under Section 74-711 of the NYC Zoning Resolution, which allows the Rectory’s lot to be merged with the lot at 350 East 88th Street for zoning purposes only. Because our church buildings (316 East 88th) and rectory (332 East 88th) are zoned as separate lots, the rectory is the only building that can benefit from this opportunity for preservation work.  (The Rhinelander building itself will remain almost exactly the same from a street view, undergoing indoor renovations and rear exterior cosmetic improvements.)   

The Vestry of The Church of the Holy Trinity has signed Terms of Agreement in which the church supports Advantage Testing’s efforts to obtain a special permit and be our new neighbor, while Advantage Testing absorbs the costs of preservation work on the rectory, including exploratory and legal fees.  (If the permit is granted, the rectory will benefit from much needed work to remedy chronic water issues: new copper flashing, new gutter work, some new pointing of bricks, and some terra cotta replacement).      To date, this project has gained the approval of the Landmarks Preservation Committee of Community Board 8, the unanimous approval of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, and initial approval by the NYC City Planning Commission.     

On October 11, 2017, Advantage Testing’s application comes before the Land Use Committee of Community Board 8, which the church hopes will be approved.  If so, future additional approvals will be required by the Borough President, the City Planning Commission, and possibly by the City Council, if Council should decide to review the proposal.  

While many parts of our church complex need attention, The Church of the Holy Trinity is grateful for this unexpected and unforeseen possibility for much-needed work on the rectory.  We hope neighbors and leaders will join us in welcoming Advantage Testing, and in celebrating this collaborative relationship that will benefit the entire neighborhood.

For questions or information about the project or process, call the parish office at 212-289-4100 or email info@holytrinity-nyc.org.