Alpine Residents Enraged Over Potential Sale of Community Church

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Alpine Community Church For Sale 995 Closter Dock Road 1
For sale along with additional buildings on 3.19 acres. Photo via Zillow.

An atypical real estate opportunity presents itself in Alpine, one of the state’s wealthier enclaves, with a collection of lots and structures bundled into one sale.

Totaling 3.19 acres of land at the top of Closter Dock Road, the most notable part of the listing is a Gothic Revival Church, previously known as Alpine Community Church. After a long legal battle, the courts ultimately ruled the property belongs to the United Methodist Church who then listed the property for sale.

Alpine Community Church For Sale 995 Closter Dock Road 2
United Methodist Church, formerly Alpine Community Church. Photo via Zillow.

Alpine, a town made up primarily of houses, only has two central buildings in its district — this church is one of them. Local residents are enraged, fearing a developer will purchase the site and demolish the church to make way for more profitable development. The real estate listing alludes to this possibility, indicating single-family homes are permitted on 10,000- or 20,000-square-foot lots.

Designed in 1871 by J. Cleveland Cady, also credited with the Metropolitan Opera House and part of the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, the church is listed on the national and state registers of historic places. But a landmark status designation doesn’t necessarily mean protection against things like demolition.

Alpine Community Church For Sale 995 Closter Dock Road 3
United Methodist Church, formerly Alpine Community Church. Photo via Zillow.

A suggestion that’s been floating around, credited to Jennifer Rothschild of the Historic Preservation Committee of the Bergen County Historical Society, is that the town, or residents themselves, should purchase the land and structures and turn it into a community center. The historical significance of the church is important, but it’s location perhaps even more so — it’s the first thing you see when you come into Alpine.

Alpine Community Church For Sale 995 Closter Dock Road 4
United Methodist Church, formerly Alpine Community Church. Photo via Zillow.

The church, fairly small but built with large pieces of beautiful natural stone, could use some repairs. The interior is designed in a Tudor style on the walls and ceiling with beautifully detailed arches highlighting the vault of the roof; the light color of the walls and high ceiling aid the natural light coming in to truly illuminate the space. Although the details are timeless, overall the space is rather dated and not well maintained.

Alpine Community Church For Sale 995 Closter Dock Road 5
United Methodist Church, formerly Alpine Community Church. Photo via Zillow.

The property, located at 995 Closter Dock Road, is asking $3,450,000.

Listing: 995 Closter Dock Road [Zillow]

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Destroying this building would be appalling and that’s coming from an atheist. Hopefully whoever buys the property can integrate the church into the new design. If the Methodist Church had any sense of decency they would stipulate the sale of the property would include the preservation of this building. The fact that they haven’t implicitly stated this already shows what a bunch of dirt bags the church leaders are.

  2. Ideally, the potential buyer could be someone who purchases the property not for redevelopment but rather adaptive re-use. A savvy, insightful buyer could purchase the property and re-adapt the building for use as a private residence. There are several documented cases where this was done.

    • The “United Methodist Church” HAS no sense of decency, or they NEVER would have been a party to this land grab. Alpine Community Church allowed a group from a storefront congregation that was losing their sanctuary in Palisades Park NJ to use our church – – they and the UMC saw what we have here, and saw $$$ signs. The Palisades Park congregation is in league with the UMC to sell our Alpine Community Church and use the proceeds to fund the building of a new sanctuary in Palisades Park. This is sanctioned BLACKMAIL ! ! So much for “inclusivity” and brotherly love . . .

  3. This breaks my heart – having grown up in the church and knowing that the community both built the church and the congregation – with not much help, if any, from the UMC. I am not sure how they can sell the church – aren’t there ashes of some of the founding families in the church? Also, there is a memorial garden in the back of the church that might also have ashes. How can they do this – and who would want to disturb those monuments?

    • Diane Darrow –
      The United Methodist Church wasn’t involved with the Alpine Community Church until the late 1960’s I believe – – and even then only peripherally. The UMC didn’t even bring any disciplinary actions against the ‘Reverend’ that they had installed in the Alpine Community Church (on a temporary basis, BTW . . . ) who was caught embezzling Church funds several years back. They just moved him, like a badly-played chess piece. Their contention that Alpine Community Church “has always been a Methodist Church” is something that should fill a dairy-barn shovel several times over.

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