Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, WA receives $100,000 grant from Trinity Church Wall Street 

Saint Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, Diocese of Olympia
Posted Nov 6, 2023

Saint Mark’s is exploring the redevelopment of the St. Nicholas property for affordable housing on campus as a key strategy in the broader vision of the Cathedral’s mission.

Trinity Church Wall Street has awarded a $100,000 grant to Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral (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, 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 The Very Rev. Steven L. Thomason, cathedral dean and rector.

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 for 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 which 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, the Saint Mark’s governing board, the 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.

About Saint Mark’s
Saint Mark’s serves as the spiritual home for the largest parish congregation in the Diocese of Olympia (The Episcopal Church in Western Washington) with five worship services on Sundays, a vibrant community life with more than 80 ministry groups, and a campus used for the broader community by more than 100 nonprofits. Since 1889, Saint Mark’s has responded to the needs of a growing and changing Seattle population compelled by the love of Christ and engaged in the work of justice. The current building was never finished after initial construction plans stalled due to foreclosure after The Stock Market crash and depression. While subsequent capital projects have focused on improvements, the “incomplete” aesthetic of the cathedral has become a signature element of its character and the community that gathers in countless ways as a house of prayer for all people. Learn more about the mission and ministries of Saint Mark’s.

About Trinity Church Wall Street:
Trinity Church Wall Street is a vibrant and growing Episcopal parish of more than 1,600 members. Over the past 325 years, Trinity has been guided by its mission to share God’s love for all people. Trinity’s programs seek to offer shared encounters with the holy, to cultivate compassion, to deepen knowledge and spiritual practices, to work for justice rooted in essential human dignity, to provide places of solace and healing, and to inspire a desire in all people to be conscientious contributors to the life of New York City and the world. More than 20 worship services are offered every week online and at historic Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel, the cornerstones of the parish’s community life, worship, and mission.

Contact: Dean Steve Thomason, 206.323.0300, sthomason@saintmarks.org