Former Our Lady of Loreto Proposal


 Applicant’s Letter



May 16, 2013


Catholic Charities POP Development Corporation

191 Joralemon Street, 2nd Floor

Brooklyn, New York 11201

Attention David Downs


Dear Mr. Downs,


            Thank you for the opportunity to submit our enclosed proposal for the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the former Our Lady of Loreto Church building. We hope that upon review of our proposal, you will determine that our team is most qualified to develop and rehabilitate this important project based on the relevant experience of our developer supporters and the Nazareth Christian Fellowship’s presence in the Brooklyn community.


            Our Lady of Loreto Church is not just another New York City property.  It is a piece of history, a symbol of Italian-American heritage, a treasured landmark, and it must be saved.   I, as the senior pastor of the Nazareth Christian Fellowship in the Ocean Hill section of Brooklyn, am willing to do just that.  As the senior pastor, I have already established a powerful and growing following in the Brooklyn community.  My spirit of service and humility will benefit the surrounding neighborhood, while my passion for education, finance and learned military discipline as a U.S. Veteran will ensure a sustainable development plan for Loreto’s rehabilitation and growth.


            As the chosen occupant / developer of the building, we will be willing to lease the building for $12,000 a year after the first five years, with a cost of living increase for every 5-year period thereafter. Also we will allow use of the hall as requested in the proposal for Our Lady of the Presentation Church at 1677 St. Mark’s Avenue.


            This proposal is supported by Frank Sciame, former Chairman of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, and President of his firm, Sciame Development, Inc.; Charles Piazza, an Executive Director of NAI Global International Real Estate and one of the leaders of the Campaign to Save Our Lady of Loreto Church; Dominick “Donny” Mondelli, founder of the Committee of the Friends of East New York Brooklyn with over 1,000 members; Joseph D. Monticciolo, FAIA, Architectual Consulting; and Joseph Sciame, VP of St. John’s University Office of Community Relations. The Chairman of the Italian Heritage & Cultural Committee of NY and the Chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations are also working closely with our team to ensure a successful rehabilitation and restoration of the historic church.


            It must be noted that our team had a very limited amount of time to complete this proposal.  Unfortunately, I was only notified about the RFP just days before my wife and I departed on a 3 week Ministry Voyage to South Africa. Accordingly, our team is entirely open to any adjustments or modifications you may suggest or require.  If you should require any additional materials or information not provided for in this proposal, please do not hesitate to contact us:  




Nazareth Christian Fellowship

576 Ralph Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11233




            We look forward to the opportunity to continue the next step of the selection process and we thank you

            for your consideration.




"We shape our buildings; thereafter, our buildings shape us." – Winston Churchill





Narrative Overview


        This is a proposal for the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of Our Lady of Loreto Church for use as a community center and multi-purpose facility in the Brownsville Section of Brooklyn. Our team proposes to restore this church to its original purpose as a place of worship, reflection, and retreat for the growing and expanding congregation of the Nazareth Christian Fellowship.


       While religious worship is among one of the listed restricted uses in the RFP, it must be noted that our particular Congregation and cause in fact meets most every other requirement and criteria encouraged by the review committee for the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the building. The Nazareth Christian Fellowship is one that is grounded in and devoted to the community, the arts, culture, and education, and we encourage the review committee to consider this proposal impartially and in its entirety.


       Our vision is clear – we are determined not only to save Our Lady of Loreto Church, but to restore the building to its former glory.  Our plan is one of conservation, sustainability, and community – three things essential for a successful rehabilitation of the historic Our Lady of Loreto Church building.







Applicant Description


      I am currently the senior pastor of the Nazareth Christian Fellowship, a thriving and growing church located in the Ocean Hill section of Brooklyn, New York. Our expanding congregation has already outgrown our existing facility on Ralph Avenue, Brooklyn and, as result,we are seeking to relocate to a larger location. Our Lady of Loreto Church would be the perfect site for our growing congregation.


     As an Accounting graduate from Baruch College, I worked as a Financial Regulator on Wall Street for over twenty years.  From there I founded my own firm, BRJ Advisors LLC, a New York based consulting firm that provides financial planning and counseling to individuals, families and small businesses. I am an established Christian author and currently serve as Presiding Prelate for the New York State Diocese of the United Covenant Churches of Christ (UCCC). 


     Approximately three months ago, I drove past the former Our Lady of Loreto Church and noticed the windows were boarded up.  When I inquired about the beautiful church, I was shocked that the building might be torn down or converted into a recreational facility. Knowing I needed more space for my growing congregation and confident in my ability to rehabilitate and restore, I engaged a team of prestigious New York developers to oversee my plan and this cause.  


     Our Lady of Loreto was a building erected for the purpose of worship, community development, and a safe haven for those in nearby neighborhoods. Our Lady of Loreto was home to countless immigrants – especially Italian immigrants – in need of support, prayer, and reflection.  Its rich history and purpose must not be forgotten, and our team will make certain that the vision and purpose of Our Lady of Loreto Church will live on. 


     Instead of converting Our Lady of Loreto Church into solely a recreational facitliy, my team and I hope to restore and transform the former Our Lady of Loreto Church building into a community center and space where groups can gather for educational seminars, after-school workshops, art programs and more.  My team, unlike most other developers, understands the amount of sacrfice, services and finances that went into building this great church, and we are determined to restore the site to its former greatness and transform neighboring communites in the process.  










Nazareth Christian Fellowship and Our Community Involvement


     As senior pastor, I founded the Nazareth Christian Fellowship Community Development Corporation (NCFCDC) where I work to redevelop, revive and transform neighboring communities in Brooklyn.  As founder of the NCFCDC, I continue to work with numerous community leaders to provide a host of academic, social, recreational, vocational and health information services for the betterment of our neighborhoods and communities.  Furthermore, because we are multi-lingual, we are able to help and provide services for families of different nationalities and ethnicities. Below is a list of programs created by the NCFCDC:


    1. Start Again Community Lunch Services – These lunches are organized twice a month and were created to encourage,

        rejuvinate and unify members of our community through songs, sermons and prayer. 


    2. Renaissance Men’s Shelter – In partner with the Shelter’s Life Skills Specialist, the NCFCDC organizes

        bi-weekly meetings and sessions for men in shelters and those facing some of the greatest challenges of their lives.

        The bi-weekly meetings instill a sense of hope and encouragement for those in the Renaissance Men’s Shelter to help get them

        on their feet and pointed in the right direction.


    3. John Walter Edwards Apartments (Residence for the Elderly) – We meet with the elderly residents of

        John Walter Edwards Apartments once a month for prayer services and Bible readings.


    4. Save Our Streets Clergy Action Network – The NCFCDC joins the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center in their

        efforts to reduce violence in our communities by organizing passive rallies, marches, and educational seminars. 


    5. Health Information Services – The NCFCDC, in partnership with organizations such as Project Renewal and The Brooklyn

       AIDS Task Force, hosts educational seminars and events to help raise awareness for members of neighboring communities. 

       We provide various services including free mobile mammogram screening, onsite rapid testing for HIV/AIDS and the distribution

       of informational materials.


     6. American Cancer Society – The NCFCDC works closely with the American Cancer Society to help to raise funds for breast

         cancer research and we also host an annual event in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness month.


     7. Holiday Programs – The NCFCDC organizes various drives during the holiday season. The NCFCDC donates their winter

         coat proceedings to New York Cares Coat Drive and the Winter Wishes Program.  Gifts collected from the community

         are distributed to The Brookdale Hospital Medical Center and St. John's Place Family Center.


     8. Vacation Bible School – The NCFCDC hosts a three-day summer initiative catered to children ages 3-12,

         where they participate in the reading of Bible stories, sing songs, and participate in arts and crafts, games and other activities.





Financing Proposal


     We currently own, free and clear, a building located at 576 Ralph Avenue in Brooklyn, NY.  The building is approximately 4,293 square feet including the lower level basement. The property has an estimated value of $575.000. The cost to maintain this property for the 2012 calendar year was $16,000. Furthermore, the Nazareth Christian Fellowship consists of approximately 120 to 150 faithful congregants, who generously donated funds totaling $176,000 just in the 2012 year. By leveraging our currently owned real estate in addition to a capital campaign, we feel confident that we will raise the necessary funds. In addition, we believe that we will interface with our own congregation and other groups like the Italian Heritage & Cultural Committee and others with a vested interest in preserving the building.


     An essential part of our proposal is to preserve the history of this great landmark Church so that it can once again become accessible to parishioners of the former Our Lady of Loreto Church.  By taking a mortgage against real estate that our Congregation owns free and clear, we will generate the initial capital required to perform Phase I of the basic renovation of the building interior.  In addition, we will manage a capital campaign to raise funds from both our Congregation as well as members of the Brooklyn and Italian-American community who feel deeply connected to this Church and its history. 


     The former Our Lady of Loreto Church building is a space approximately four times larger than our current location. This much needed space could potentially multiply our total congregants by ten times, and accordingly, raise our annual donations to a projected $1.8 million/year, an income more than adequate to maintain and sustain the current building. Furthermore, with the growth of the Congregation, comes the opportunity to fund projects and programs to better benefit the surrounding community. 


     Additionally, these estimates do not include any donations that could be acquired from possible grants, committee funding, Italian-American organizations, or assistance from the local community interested in preserving this historic building. 





Letters of Interest for Private and Public Funds


     Due to the limited amount time we had in preparing this proposal, we were unable to obtain Letters of Interest for Private and Public Funds at this time.


     I became aware of this opportunity to submit a proposal on April 18, 2013 but could not take action until after I returned from a Ministry Voyage to South Africa on May 3, 2013. Immediately upon my return, however, I contacted and organized a team of the following prestigious individuals and institutions. Each team member listed below is willing and able to assist with our mission to rehabilitate and restore this historic building to its former glory.  



Joseph Sciame Chair, Conference of Presidents of Major I-A Organizations and President/Chair, IHCC-NY, Inc.


Dominick “Donny” Mondelli, Founder of The Friends of East York Brooklyn


Joseph D. Monticciolo, FAIA, President, The Monticciolo Company


Charles Piazza, Executive Managing Director, NAI Global


Frank Sciame, President, Sciame Development, Inc.







Community Facility


     Our vision for the former Our Lady of Loreto Church is to create a center for community programs, public meetings and events, with an important goal in mind – preserving, restoring and rehabilitating this historic church.


     Our hopes for the former Our Lady of Loreto Church site is to design it for and minister to the total person – spiritually, emotionally, physically and socially. The Nazareth Christian Fellowship, backed by this team of extraordinary developers, will work towards creating a center for art programs, continuing education for youth and adults, after-school programming, senior nights, and more. Furthermore, my experience living in Brooklyn has shown me the need for better daycare centers, not only for the betterment of our community’s children, but as a center of support for the many working parents in our neighborhood. With this in mind, we plan to dedicate a portion of the space in the former Our Lady of Loreto Church building entirely to a daycare center. Additionally, we plan to set aside space in the building for a small memorial honoring the story and powerful history of the former Our Lady of Loreto Church. 


     We will also work with our Congregants to better develop their spirituality and faith through Bible readings, prayer services and religious seminars.  Most importantly, our church will live out the dream and vision of the former Our Lady of Loreto Church – it will be a place where everyone is welcome.








Design Narrative


     The most appealing component of our proposal is that we plan to retain as much of the historic façade and interiors as possible. We plan to maintain the same building layout as opposed to undergoing a massive renovation, but will reinforce and rehabilitate the structure as needed. We will perform such renovations in a cost-effective way and will use durable materials to ensure a sustainable design and community space.


     Any and all construction that will be performed will conform to the current zoning and that of the New York City Zoning Resolution and will also adhere to the current New York City Building Code, applicable laws and regulations. Furthermore, with the guidance of Frank Sciame, former Chairman of The New York Landmarks Conservancy, such repairs will be grounded in preservation and will comply as much as possible with the United States Secretary of the Interior Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties. 






Architectural Submission


     This team is currently in contact with the Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation (NEBHDCo), a not-for-profit organization located in the Ocean Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. The NEBHDCo originally submitted plans to the Brooklyn Diocese, who currently have a copy in their possession, for the adaptive reuse, rehabilitation and restoration of the former Our Lady of Loreto Church building.  








Sustainability Elements


     The function of sustainability is to repurpose and adaptively reuse existing space. Ecologically responsible repurposing is one that is minimally invasive and low cost. In this way, our vision is grounded in the elements of sustainability. The former Our Lady of Loreto Church was a place of worship and a center for the community. Our goal is to maintain this building’s essential function and provide a space for the surrounding neighborhood for prayer, programs and seminars.






Design Team Experience



Please see attached for the following résumés:



Bishop Roberto Jemmott


Joseph D. Monticciolo, FAIA, President, The Monticciolo Company


Charles Piazza, Executive Managing Director, NAI Global


Frank Sciame, President, Sciame Development, Inc.







Development Schedule


The development team anticipates a construction schedule with the following tentative milestones:


6 Months à Pre-Construction and Finalization

12 Months à Phase I Construction, Renovation of Interior, and Exterior Stabilization

6 Months à Interior Fit-Out Including Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment


The critical factors for meeting the former Our Lady of Loreto Church building’s goals for quality, schedule and budget are to address the project’s complexities using a thorough pre-construction planning and coordination process and a cost-effective and efficient building strategy that includes but is not limited to:


v      A strong focus on pre-construction logistics and planning to ensure that the complexities of the project are properly planned

       for and solved;

v      A careful study of opportunities available to the project to minimize the impact on the historic church structure and interior space;

v      A strong focus on collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication in order to rehabilitate and restore the

        landmark building.



Should you require a more detailed Development Schedule, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.


As per your Submission Requirements, we ask that if we are not selected as your Development Team, that you donate

               our non refundable deposit check of $1,000 to the Catholic Church or to an affiliated Catholic Charity.



To support this proposal please send your letters of support to the people listed below.

David Downs, Catholic Charities
John Tynan, Catholic Charoties,
Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, Brooklyn Diocese,
Bishop Nicholis DiMarzio, Brooklyn Diocese, 
Also please send a cc email to all the team members listed here.,,,
Thank you and God bless