A company that owns about an acre of land in Elmhurst, Queens had originally eyed a new condominium project to be built on that site. Instead, the company has put up the lot for sale with an asking price of $13.8 million.
What hamstrung the proposed development? On the site is a historic African-American burial ground, where approximately 300 people, including former slaves, are believed to be buried. The New York Times first reported on June 14.
In 2011, the lot's current owner, 90 Queens Inc., was excavating the site, which is on 47-11 90th Street, for the construction of a new building. Crews discovered the preserved body of Martha Peterson, a descendant linked to the founder of the United African Society that dates back to the early 19th century. As a result, development was halted.
Due to an architectural restriction, no further development can take place on the site without the consultation of the St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church. The church was the last religious group to own the lot until it moved to East Elmhurst in 1929 (St. Mark now resides in Jackson Heights).