Trinity Church’s $6 Billion Portfolio

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Trinity Church in New York City was formed in 1697 by a small group of Anglicans. Alexander Hamilton, Eliza Hamilton, and Angelica Schuyler, three of the stars of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton,” are all buried in New York City’s Trinity Church.  Alexander and Eliza baptized five of their children at Trinity.  John Jay was also a parishioner.

Today, Trinity Church is very wealthy.  Over at The New York Times, Jane Margolies writes about the church’s real estate investments in the city and its own construction of a $350 million glass tower.  Here is a taste:

While many places of worship are warding off developers as they struggle to hold on to their congregations and buildings, Trinity is a big-time developer itself.

The church has always been land-rich. And it has long had its own real estate arm, which controls ground leases and office space rentals in the buildings it owns. But now it finds itself with a newly diversified portfolio worth $6 billion, according to the current rector, the Rev. Dr. William Lupfer.

After being instrumental in changing the zoning laws in Hudson Square, a neighborhood between West Houston and Canal Streets, Trinity Real Estate has entered into a joint venture that gives it a majority stake in 12 buildings that contain six million square feet of commercial space. A lucrative deal with the Walt Disney Company, valued at $650 million, was signed just last year.

And as it builds its glass tower — which will house administrative offices, public gathering spaces and, yes, commercial tenants — Trinity is also renovating the interior of its historic church, which is expected to cost $110 million.

Trinity has been able to do all this because it’s been a savvy manager of its resources. It is also, as a church, exempt from taxes.

But some wonder about the ethics of a religious institution being such a power player in the world of New York real estate.

Read the entire piece here.

6 thoughts on “Trinity Church’s $6 Billion Portfolio

  1. Paul,
    We all have cultural parameters guiding our thinking. That includes you, me, St.Augustine, Martin Luther, John Paul II, J.N. Darby, Cardinal Newman, Lancelot Andrewes, and everyone else we can name.
    Having been exposed to a wide variety of denominations, I will stand by my assertion that Trinity Church is probably engaging in baptized social work.
    James

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  2. John,
    I used the sort “guess” when referring to the probable lack of spiritual outreach——not the word “know.”
    I do “know” quite a bit about TEC churches in general and am “guessing” that Trinity fits well within the pattern.
    James

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  3. Some of the social welfare projects being done by Trinity Church are no doubt helpful to those needing housing or food in NYC. Well and good. I would guess, however, that there is little spiritual outreach emanating from the parish. A portion of the six billion dollar portfolio could support a huge number of missionaries, but I would guess that the vestry of Trinity doesn’t put a high priority on that sort of thing.

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    • James: How do you know that there isn’t any “spiritual outreach?” That is a pretty bold claim to make in public for someone who doesn’t know the church. This is why people don’t like evangelicals.

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      • John,
        I suppose there are a number of reasons people don’t like evangelicals. With that admission, is there still no reason for evangelicals not to call a spade a spade?
        I have had more than a casual exposure to TEC—-four years of Education for Ministry (EFM), several years of Crusillo meetings, and involvement in more than one parish. Wealthy urban parishes like Trinity tend to attract social activists rather than seekers of historic Anglican orthodoxy. I would love it if I visited Trinity and found my guess to be in error.
        James

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      • Because for many evangelicals like James, Christianity is defined by belief in a set of assertions that are culturally based, although they think it’s in the Bible. So no matter what this church does or doesn’t do to help people in the community, if they don’t preach the same set of assertions (really the Republican gospel) then they are not true Christians and whatever they do is viewed with disdain. Every church I’ve been around in my life has the same attitude.

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