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St. Sebastian’s in Woodside to Sell 1/2 Acre Playground Site, Development Likely

Playground area next to St. Sebastian’s Catholic Academy (Photo: St. Sebastian’s)

Oct. 16, 2020 By Christian Murray

St. Sebastian’s, a Woodside parish saddled in debt, is selling a large piece of vacant land located next to the Catholic school.

The property, which has an address of 39-53 57th St., is listed for sale for $6.25 million and is being marketed by the brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield as a development site.

“The site offers a developer the opportunity to capitalize on the low supply of luxury rental and condominium housing in the neighborhood,” reads the listing.

The site is large with frontage on 57th and 58th streets. The property is 1/2 an acre in size and has been used as a playground.

“St. Sebastian’s parish property includes an empty lot and given its limited use, it has been listed for sale,” said a spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, which oversees parishes in Queens and Brooklyn. “The potential proceeds of this sale have not been earmarked for any specific purpose. This is simply a financially prudent decision.”

The parish has been hemorrhaging money in recent years.

The parish was expected to report a deficit of $150,000 for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2020, a spokesperson said at the end of July. The diocese accountant projected a $500,000 deficit for the 2021 fiscal year that began Sept. 1.

The St. Sebastian’s community center, which provides athletic facilities and programming, has been a large contributor to those losses, with an annual deficit of between $150,000 and $200,000 in recent years.

Fundraising efforts have helped offset a portion of the losses.

The parish was forced to layoff seven workers at the center soon after COVID-19 struck and is looking for ways to make the center financially sustainable. The center, which closed due to COVID, is expected to reopen soon.

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