A Lawsuit Brought By A Parishioner Against Wall Street’s Trinity Church parish has shone a light on the value of the church’s assets, which are estimated to be worth more than $2 billion and include a major portfolio of office buildings and mixed-use residential developments, the New York Times reported.
The church controls 14 acres of Manhattan property, the bulk of which is in the trendy Hudson Square neighborhood, where Trinity’s real estate division recently pushed for an upzoning. The value of its assets will likely continue to grow thanks to the recent rezoning, which provided for larger residential developments, real estate experts said.
“The Trinity Church properties are now among the most valuable in all of New York City, because they are sitting on the edge of the hottest neighborhoods in the city — Soho, Tribeca and Greenwich Village,” said Mitchell Moss, a professor of urban policy and planning at New York University. “Trinity has been either very wise or very prudent, but they have let the market mature around them, and now they are ready to take advantage of it.”
The church reported revenue from real estate investments in excess of $158 million in 2011, most of which was plowed back into operations and maintenance, according to the most recent financial statements available. The church spent close to $6 million on the maintenance of its most historic real estate assets, such as the main church building, St. Paul’s Chapel and a number of cemeteries, that same year.
Parishioner Jeremy Bates brought the suit against the parish, which he says should be more accountable to congregants. The building of an investment equity portfolio is not in line with the church’s beliefs and morals, he said. [NYT] –Katherine Clarke