18 July 2017

First Hills Trinity Parish Church Announces 30-Story Mixed-Use Redevelopment Project on Land Adjacent to its Historic Church

Trinity Parish Church (www.trinityseattle.org), one of Seattle’s oldest congregations, today announced it has entered into an agreement with Caydon Property Group (caydonusa.com),one of Melbourne, Australia’s leading lifestyle and property developers with experience in residential, commercial, retail and hotels, to build its first West Coast residential development. Located on 8th and Cherry Street, the new project will include a 30-story mixed-use residential tower adjacent to the historic church.

Trinity’s historic church building is not part of the redevelopment site and will not be affected. Trinity will retain ownership of the entire parcel of land and sell development air rights to Caydon for the northern half of the site. The new development will allow Trinity and Caydon to make a substantial financial contribution to the City of Seattle for new affordable housing.

“Trinity Parish Church is a worshipping community that cares about social, economic and environmental justice, and where service among the poor and vulnerable is central to our faith,” said The Rev. Jeffrey Gill, Rector of Trinity. “This redevelopment will help us continue to nourish the heart and soul of Seattle long into the future, and our new facilities will enable us to increase our outreach, support music and the arts at a new level, and continue to develop programs for our thriving and growing downtown congregation.”

Trinity spent two years evaluating how best to address the needs of its aging buildings, including remediation of a cracked foundation, unreinforced masonry, updating electrical systems, and providing ADA accessibility. Upon completion of this evaluation, the Church determined costs of upgrading the facilities to modern standards far outweighed benefits.

“After much study and evaluation, it became clear to us that we were putting the future of Trinity Parish at risk by continuing to pour money into these old buildings,” added Fr. Gill. “In the near future the City of Seattle will require us to bring the unreinforced masonry structures into compliance with seismic standards, which is very costly. And, this expense would not address any of the other problems with the building. We were also putting our congregation and neighborhood at risk in the event of an earthquake or electrical fire. At the same time, we realized there was an opportunity cost of holding on to very valuable real estate while keeping it in an underdeveloped state.”

The new building also means expanded capacity for outreach services to those in need. Currently, Trinity provides about 10,000 sq. ft. to nonprofit service providers and within the new building, there will be room to grow this commitment to local nonprofits. Service providers located in the three existing Trinity buildings have been given the offer to come back to the new building once it is complete. They will need to relocate for a period of time during construction, and some may not choose to move twice. Service providers will not need to move until construction begins. Existing nonprofit services in the current buildings include a thrift shop, some performing arts groups and Northwest Harvest, which Trinity has provided free space for more than 35 years. Northwest Harvest also operates the Cherry Street Food Bank from the same location.

“Northwest Harvest is very excited about the opportunity this move presents,” said Diana Axness, Northwest Harvest Board Chair. “This move from Cherry Street opens the door for Northwest Harvest to find a new home and realize the vision for our next-generation Food Bank and Community Engagement Hub – including wrap-around services for our clients and serving as a model of best practices for the state.”

“In these most interesting times in the life of Christian worshipping communities within the booming economy of Seattle, Trinity leadership has shown tremendous responsibility and stewardship of its future service to its neighborhood, while balancing its historic place in it,” said the Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia (Western Washington).” From the diocesan perspective, we were most concerned that Trinity not lose its missional focus and outreach to its immediate neighbors. In the end, after a thorough, professional, and deeply reflective period of preparation and proposal, our diocesan leadership was convinced of the long term merits of this project, and, in the end, a great improvement to that mission.”

Seattle Project is First West Coast Residential Project for Australian Developer
For Trinity, it was a natural fit to work with Caydon due to the company’s reputation of creating developments that enhance the communities in which it operates. Caydon will build new church facilities on three floors within the new building. In addition to the expanded nonprofit space, the new Trinity facilities will include room for a new parish hall, assembly and mission space and administrative offices.

Caydon’s new residential development will include more than 200 units, modern onsite amenities, landscaped open space and ground level design that will extend and enhance the 8th Avenue Greenstreet and enhance walkability.

“Seattle is a breathtakingly scenic city and its downtown and close-in neighborhoods are some of the most dynamic in the country. For our first West Coast residential project, we knew this is the neighborhood we wanted to be in and are looking forward to building a well-designed project that the neighborhood and city will be proud of,” said Joe Russo, principal of Caydon Property Group. “Building adjacent to Trinity Church is an honor and we take the responsibility that comes along with it seriously. We’re looking forward to advancing a design that is modern and fits into the First Hill neighborhood, but also melds well with the existing historic church building.”

“The redevelopment of our First Hill location will help us expand our parish, extend our Church mission’s reach and will have long lasting positive impact on how we are able to support our neighbors and thrive in Seattle,” said Trinity Church Senior Warden Hillary St. John. “There is so much good to come out of Trinity’s partnership with Caydon in redevelopment. I look forward to strengthening our foundations (both literal and figurative) in the Seattle community and being able to continue offering support and service for the next 150 years.”

Caydon selected Chicago-based SCB Architects to design the project, utilizing staff in their San Francisco office. Trinity’s architect is Clint Pehrson Architects, of Seattle. They will have principal responsibility for Trinity’s portion of the project.

(Originally published on The Registry Puget Sound Real Estate Website, 11 July, 2017)