Trinity Church Wall Street has awarded a $100,000 grant to Saint Mark’s to fund feasibility and predevelopment costs in exploring affordable housing on campus. The grant will span a six-month period through April 2024 and support the completion of key assessments of the St. Nicholas site, such as financial feasibility, geotechnical surveys, and environmental and historic building rehabilitation studies.
“Navigating the affordable housing process requires a collaborative effort, and Saint Mark’s is grateful for the support of Trinity Church Wall Street, who share in our missional commitment that safe and affordable housing is a foundational human need,” said Dean Steve Thomason.
Rising housing costs are one of the driving reasons for one in three residents who are considering moving away from Seattle, according to a recent Seattle Times/Suffolk University poll. Increasingly, more residents are having to spend more than 30% of household income on housing – a threshold for indicating that housing has become a cost burden.
The City of Seattle has responded to this growing need through regulations adopted in 2021 that allow extra density for housing built on sites owned or controlled by religious institutions. Saint Mark’s joins other faith communities in Seattle that seek to use campus assets to serve a growing community need for housing.
Through its Mission Real Estate Development initiative, Trinity supports faith-based organizations in the United States and internationally to enhance their mission and ministry and meet the needs of the community while building sustainable financial capacity. “Our faith calls on us to use our gifts to help all people, advancing equity and justice in the here and now—and hopefully for generations to come,” said Beatriz de la Torre, Chief Philanthropy Officer at Trinity Church Wall Street. “We are grateful to be able to make these strategic investments in the work of grantee partners like Saint Mark’s, and applaud their vision to address the affordable housing crisis and a direct impact on people’s lives.”
Saint Mark’s Properties LLC purchased the St. Nicholas site in 2003. The Cathedral uses a portion of the space for Cathedral programming, but the primary occupancy has been for nonprofit tenants. In 2022, Saint Mark’s Vestry identified affordable housing as a missional initiative worthy of consideration for Saint Mark’s to explore further, forming the Affordable Housing Exploratory (AHE) Committee.
Redeveloping the St. Nicholas site for multigenerational housing would connect new residents with strong schools, accessible green space, great public transit connections, and a vibrant commercial district. “While no decisions have been made, exploring the redevelopment of the St. Nicholas property for multigenerational affordable housing is part of a broader vision of the Cathedral’s mission and purpose to seek and serve Christ in all persons,” said Thomason. “The generous grant from Trinity positions Saint Mark’s to further assess and discern the possibility of affordable housing on campus and welcome new residents to our Capitol Hill neighborhood.”
Learn more at www.saintmarks.org/affordable-housing.