As many churches in New York City struggle to survive and keep their buildings, Trinity Church, a land-rich, over 300-year-old congregation in Lower Manhattan, has emerged as a major real estate developer with a diverse investment portfolio worth $6 billion, according to the church’s current rector, the Rev. William Lupfer.
The news comes six years after a legal dispute erupted publicly about whether the Episcopal congregation was doing enough to help those in need.
Jeremy C. Bates, who filed a lawsuit that led to the institution making its financial records public, told The New York Times that he believes the church is now more unified.
“We currently work with many partners in New York City and around the world to build neighborhoods, to help develop clergy and lay leadership for the church, and to help our partners resource their ministries,” Patti Walsh, a spokeswoman for the church, told The New York Times.
Much of the church’s financial success has been attributed to their tax-exempt status as well as wise management of their holdings which can be traced to a gift of 215 acres from Queen Anne in 1705, the Times said. The church still owns about 14 acres of that grant.
And now that Lower Manhattan is in the middle of a real estate boom, the value of the church’s holdings in an area known as Hudson Square, has helped to improve the church’s wealth immensely.
The church’s real estate arm, Trinity Real Estate, entered into a joint venture that gave it a majority stake in 12 buildings with 6 million square feet of commercial space. Just last year, they signed a $650 million deal with the Walt Disney Company, valued at $650 million.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair