July 9, 2018 By Tara Law
Plans are underway to construct a 3-story Buddhist community center in Long Island City, a representative from the organization said Monday.
A national Buddhist community organization called Soka Gakkai International-USA intends to construct a 15,000 square foot community center at 40-40 24th St. The new building will include a religious assembly space, a bookstore, a coffee lounge and various meeting rooms.
Soka Gakkai International-USA promotes the practice of Nichiren Buddhism, a sect which emphasizes the teachings of 13th Century Buddhist priest Nichiren. The organization leads some 100 centers across the country, including a location on 15th Street in Manhattan.
Clifford Sawyer, Sokka Gakkai’s vice president of administration, said that the new center will embody the organization’s mission— to promote peace, community and education about Buddhism.
Saywer said that members of his organization are “extremely excited” about expanding to Long Island City.
“We’re looking forward to establishing a presence in the community and reaching out to neighbors,” said Sawyer.
The center will offer a range of community activities, including religious services, cultural performances, youth-targeted programming, lectures and seminars.
The building will offer a variety of meeting spaces, including a landscaped lounge area that will be located on the building’s roof.
The community decided to build the new center because the Manhattan location can no longer accommodate the growing community, Sawyer said.
The organization filed demolition permits for an existing two-story building on the property on July 3, and demolition is already underway, Sawyer said. Building permits have not yet been filed.
Sawyer estimated that construction will begin late this year or early next year and will last about 14 months. The organization aims to open the new center in 2020.