A Visit with St. Nick?

The faith community of St. Nicholas Church in Brooklyn has long been fighting to make their East Williamsburg neighborhood a better place to live.

In the mid-1850s, New York had the third largest German population in the world, outnumbered only by Berlin and Vienna. In the following decades, second-generation German Americans began to move to what is now East Williamsburg. The neighborhood grew and brewers, craftsmen, bakers, and woodworkers built homes, schools and churches, including St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church, which opened in 1886.

Nearly 100 years later, the glory days of the late 19th century were just a memory. In the spring of 1974, a fire destroyed a row of buildings on Powers Street, leaving 18 families homeless. The congregation of St. Nicholas Church, now largely Hispanic and Italian, came together to aid the families – and the whole community.

What rose from the ashes of the Powers Street fire was the St. Nicholas Neighborhood Preservation Corporation, known first as St. Nicks, and later as St. Nicks Alliance. They focus on economic and community development in Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

Last month, Leviticus closed its first loan to St. Nicks Alliance – $6,627,826 to purchase a former bank building at 819 Grand Street. But we didn’t do it alone. Leviticus is the lead lender with $2.6 million in capital, and Capital Impact Partners and Partners for the Common Good are participating lenders.

This is the single largest loan that Leviticus has ever originated. And not only did we bring in two lending partners, but we underwrote the loan while other acquisition lenders were severely curtailing new lending due to the pandemic.

St. Nicks Alliance helps kids become lifelong learners, protects tenants from landlord harassment, provides senior services, supports skills training and job placement, serves as a civic resource, and much more. This loan will support construction of a 213-unit senior housing residence, connected to St. Nick’s existing Jennings Hall, which already provides 150 units for low-income elderly residents.

The Leviticus Fund is happy to support St. Nicks Alliance mission of transforming lives through employment, education, housing, and health care, and delivering impactful services to children, adults, and the elderly.

We offer our very best wishes to you and yours throughout the holiday season and in the new year.