NEW YORK | 74 Trinity Place | 424 FT | 26 FLOORS

Continuing the discussion from NEW YORK | World Trade Center District:

Towering ambition: Trinity Church set to build after fight

By Isabel Vincent
August 4, 2013 | 4:00am
Photo: Illustration / Pelli Clarke Pelli

The real-estate-obsessed rector of Trinity Church is sealing his dream deal — and altering the downtown skyline.

The board of the historic lower Manhattan church has approved a plan to demolish two Trinity-owned buildings and replace them with a residential and office tower.

The Rev. James Cooper’s development push was one of many sore points that led to a mass exodus of church board members two years ago. Cooper replaced the disgruntled vestry with his cronies, who late last month approved his grand vision.

The church hired the firm Pelli Clarke Pelli, headed by renowned architect Cesar Pelli, the designer of the Petronas Towers in Malaysia and the World Financial Center in lower Manhattan.

The firm’s conceptual plan shows a modern glass box of six to seven stories, which would house church offices and meeting rooms, topped by a 25-story residential tower. The project would total 296,000 square feet.

Trinity refused to reveal the project’s cost or how it would be paid for. A spokesman would say only that renovating the existing Trinity Place buildings — one of which is five stories and dates to 1915 and the other a 25-story brick structure completed in 1927 — would have cost $33 million.

The church, established in 1698, is among Manhattan’s largest property owners, with an estimated $2 billion worth of commercial real estate in the Hudson Square area. The net rental income from those buildings was $71 million in 2012.

The new building, slated for completion by 2017, is expected to generate more money for Trinity, but will stand in sharp contrast to the Gothic revival church, which was rebuilt after a fire and opened in 1846. The view of its spire from Wall Street is considered iconic.

“The new condo tower is going to be the worst possible backdrop, and will be much taller than the current building,” said parishioner Jeremy Bates. “It may be an economically smart decision, but it’s symbolically wrong.”

Bates sued Trinity this year over its board-election process.

Critics say Cooper focused much of his energy on the development of the two-building site to the detriment of the church’s philanthropic missions.

Former board member Tom Flexner noted in a December 2011 letter to fellow members of the vestry that Cooper wanted “to pursue ill-conceived projects in order to promote his own power.”

“I would specially note his almost obsessive desire to redevelop 68-74 Trinity Place into a sort of mega-monument — a facility more expensive and more expansive than any reasonable assessment of our needs would suggest is appropriate,” Flexner wrote.

In the midst of the controversy over his leadership, Cooper considered retiring, but only if he got perks, including a burial plot in the historic church graveyard. His compensation package in 2010 topped $1.3 million, including his church-owned Soho town house. He announced in February that he would retire in 2015.

Permits Filed: 68 Trinity Place Gets Height Increase, Will Stand 44 Stories Tall


Old version of 68 Trinity Place, image by Pelli Clarke Pelli

The first permits are up for a new 44-story mixed-use tower at 68 Trinity Place, which has apparently seen a height increase since Pelli Clarke Pelli was chosen to design, last July.

Trinity Church will occupy 93,180 square feet on the first seven floors, while 111 residences will split 157,185 square feet on upper levels. The tower’s total scope will measure 250,995 square feet, and it will stand 499 feet tall. The 42nd and 43rd floors will each have one penthouse residence.

Pelli Clarke Pelli’s scheme placed a 25-story tower atop a seven-story base, so the residential component has apparently stretched skinner and taller. This would not be unexpected given the vertical progression of other projects in the neighborhood, many of which will soar well over 500 feet.

Facade of original 68-74 Trinity Place, which will soon be demolished

Unfortunately, the new tower at 68 Trinity requires the demolition of a handsome pre-war structure, though per the Church, it has decayed considerably on the inside. With Pelli Clarke Pelli hopefully still designing the replacement, it should be attractive; despite the loss, the added density will benefit the neighborhood, which can still feel desolate outside of office hours.

The Stephen B. Jacobs Group is listed as the architect of record, and construction is expected to begin this fall, with completion set for 2017.

1 Like

I’m against this project. Hopefully the new design will be good.


Trinity to erect apartment towers

The Episcopal church’s lucrative property arm makes a big new bet on residential real estate.

NOVEMBER 3, 2014 12:01 A.M.

For just over three centuries, Trinity Church has cautiously managed the 215 acres of downtown Manhattan it received from Britain’s Queen Anne, turning it from productive farmland to industrial and office space.

In the next few weeks, the Episcopal church—whose property arm, Trinity Real Estate, oversees the 5.5 million square feet of office buildings it owns on the western fringe of SoHo in an area called Hudson Square—will try something new. It will venture into the high-stakes game of residential development.

Led by Jason Pizer, who took over as chief executive four years ago, Trinity will build as many as four luxury residential towers there, as well as one partially residential property near Wall Street. The shift could throw open the door of its $3 billion real estate portfolio to a new era of unprecedented profits. But it could also expose it to more risk, especially given Trinity’s ranking as a mere novice in the residential game.

…Trinity’s first step will come before the year-end, when it selects a partner to help rebuild its 25-story headquarters on Trinity Place. The building is across the street from Trinity’s landmark church and linked to its famous cemetery—the final resting place of Alexander Hamilton, among others—via a pedestrian bridge. Work converting the office building to a sleek, 44-story Pelli Clarke Pelli-designed tower, topped by luxury residences, will begin next year.

1 Like

Trinity Church Seeks Demolition Permit at 68-74 Trinity Place


A few months after ground was supposed to be broken at 68-74 Trinity Place, Trinity Church has filed a demolition permit application with the city’s Department of Buildings, according to agency records.

The demo permit application is pending, according to a DOB spokesman, and the church’s application for a new 40-plus-story residential and office tower was disapproved on Oct. 10.

“What was turned down, as anticipated at the time, was a building plan that did not meet required rear yard setback requirements,” a spokesman for Trinity emailed Commercial Observer. “That denial then allowed Trinity to the start the process of going to [city’s Board of Standards and Appeals] to seek a variance from those requirements to create a more efficient building. The request for that variance was supported by [Community Board 1].”

The property contains a through lot between Trinity Place and Greenwich Street as well as two irregularly shaped interior lot portions, for which the zoning resolution would require the provision of rear yards with a depth of 20 feet, the CB1 resolution noted. On Nov. 20, the board recommended that BSA grant the variance in order for Trinity Church to develop the parish hall and residential tower, which would reduce the building to 46 stories from 48.

Pelli Clarke Pelli is designing the new building, on a site the church has owned for at least 75 years. The residential portion will be “developed by a third party that would also construct the core and shell of the residential development, which would subsidize the construction of the Parish House,” the CB1 resolution notes. Trinity Church hasn’t yet selected that developer.

via streeteasy:

I detest these shmucks’ destruction of that beautiful old tower. Now, they will probably make an even lamer building than they planned earlier. They should sell the site to a developer and donate the money to the poor.

I agree, that’s a shame.

Did they finish razing the building?

No, but they made a lot of progress.

1 Like

July 8th

The pigs in this Church clearly do not heed the following words of Jesus: “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s…”


July 21st


Pelli designs really nice midrise buildings, such as McKinney & Olive in Dallas and Frost Bank in SA. I hope that the schmucks at Trinity don’t commission a POS.

Aug 16th


Historic Trinity Church Wall Street Unveils Plans for New Tower Space

Plans call for a new tower at 74 Trinity Place to house parish center, commercial office space

Oct. 23, 2016 7:34 p.m. ET

Trinity Church Wall Street officials unveiled the designs over the weekend for the estimated $300 million project, capping almost two years of discussions and outreach for ideas that involved church members and the broader downtown Manhattan community. The plans call for a new tower with a facade of glass and bronze-colored aluminum and 26 floors that can be occupied rising at 74 Trinity Pl.

“The design itself is like the process we used to design it,” said the Rev. Dr. William Lupfer, Rector of Trinity Church, referring to the new building. “We wanted people to see in and feel the vitality and welcome.”

Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects Inc., the tower is intended to complement the brownstone Gothic Revival church—the parish’s charter dates to 1697—and provide modern and efficient spaces for the congregation as well as the changing local community, said Fred Clarke, a senior design principal with Pelli Clarke Pelli.

Families and young people have moved into the area that was once strictly an office district. That became evident with the community emphasizing the need for spaces focused on youth and youth education programs, Mr. Clarke said.

“Youth education 10 years ago probably would not have been a big factor,” Mr. Clarke said.

The 310,000-square-foot tower will have spaces that include a cafe, a large multifunctional parish hall, gymnasium, church offices and flexible spaces that can be used for classrooms or art and music studios. The tower replaces a 1920s building that has been razed, but it will incorporate some pieces salvaged from the older building such as terra-cotta detailing and stained-glass windows.

The Trinity Church Parish Center will form the base of the building. The center will have two lobbies. One on Greenwich Street will have a large community space, where informal events, art exhibits or lectures could take place.

The lobby for the building opens onto Trinity Place and will house a security desk and cafe. A mezzanine suspended above the Trinity Place lobby will hold programs and activities for young children and toddlers.

Visitors and passersby will have sight lines straight through from Trinity Place to Greenwich Street and vice versa, Mr. Clarke said.

“There is a visual permeability and a physical permeability that makes for dramatic architecture,” Mr. Clarke said.

On the second level, a bridge over Trinity Place is planned that will link the church to a new parish hall—a space that can seat 300 people in a formal dining configuration.

A previous plan had called for luxury condominiums to be included in the tower, but the church decided to go with commercial office space on floors 10 through 26 above the parish center.

Leasing would allow the church to continue to shape the area and advocate for the community in the future, Dr. Lupfer said. Selling condos wouldn’t have allowed the church to do that.

The office space could house a mix of nonprofit and for-profit organizations, but all tenants will share the church’s core values, Dr. Lupfer said.

Write to Keiko Morris at


Honestly, I wanted something big here. I cant recall the initial height, but I know it wasn’t 500ft, 500ft is too small for this neighborhood!!

1 Like

I fhink it’s ok. It’s not great or bad.

I think I still prefer the Cook + Fox proposal that lost out to Pelli Clarke Pelli, but this is a vast improvement over the original Pelli design.