The Manhattan Initiative supports the Metro New York District with resources and financial investments, managing the sales of all church-owned properties and writing grants in support of the local church.
Support the District with resources and investments; manage sales of church-owned properties.
The Manhattan Initiative began its history as owner and caretaker of The Lambs Club on West 44th Street in Times Square, the heart of New York City. Purchased in 1975 from the auction block, the former actor’s studio and clubhouse became home to The Lamb’s Church of the Nazarene, where it resided until 2005.
The Lambs Club was a Stanford White designed building that housed the first professional theatrical club in America (at that time, the Metro NY District was the only non-profit entity in the country to own two Stanford White buildings). The design of the building, finished in 1904, embodied the “American Renaissance” and his work is seen in the homes of Astor and Vanderbilt families, many landmark buildings in NYC, and other public spaces around the country. This six-story, neo-Georgian brick building was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks and Preservation Commission in 1974.
The Metro New York District for the Church of the Nazarene purchased the building in 1975 for $500,000. Renovation work began to turn it into a small box theater for off-Broadway productions, a Sunday gathering space for The Lamb’s Church, services to the homeless and other Times Square residents and became the central hub for the Church of the Nazarene in New York City. For almost 25 years this former actor’s club welcomed Nazarene and non-Nazarene groups and guests to its quarters.
By the late 1990’s, it became apparent the cost of maintaining and preserving a historic building in the heart of NYC was beyond the scope and mission of the District or local church, and negotiations were entered into with the goal of securing a long term land lease with a hotel developer, The Chatwal Group. In 2005 the deal was complete, and The Chatwal Hotel and the Lambs Club 5-star restaurant opened to rave reviews.
The District formed “The Manhattan Initiative” to oversee the investment income from the 99-year land lease, to continue the relationship with the Chatwal group, and to look for other ways in which to develop Manhattan properties for non-profit and religious work. Rev. Dr. John Bowen was hired as the first President of the Initiative and was followed by current President Rev. Bruce K. Barnard. The activities of the Initiative are overseen by a Board of Directors with impressive global and national experience in non-profits.
Board of Directors
- Chairman, Rev. Dr. Sam Vassel, District Superintendent of the Metro New York District
- President and Chief Executive Officer, Rev. Bruce K. Barnard
- Dr. Gary Morsch
- Nichelle Maynard-Elliott
- John Butters
- Robert L. Sloan
Questions? Please contact:
Rev. Bruce Barnard
Director of Operations and Finance
Executive Director of Manhattan Initiative
(516) 561-8614 EXT: 7670