Photo via Wikimedia
The Walt Disney Company announced Monday it will move its operations from the Upper West Side to Lower Manhattan, where the media giant is planning to build modern production space and offices. Disney purchased the rights to develop Trinity Church’s property at 4 Hudson Square for $650 million under a 99-year agreement. The site covers a full city block, bordered by Hudson, Varick, Van Dam and Spring Streets.
“This move represents an historic step forward toward our long-term vision for our New York operations,” Robert Iger, CEO of Disney, said in a statement. “The Hudson Square district is rapidly becoming a dynamic, innovative hub for media, technology and other creative businesses.”
Get the details of the Disney deal
Rendering of the canopy at the graveyard via Trinity Wall Street
The Trinity Church, whose history in New York City dates back 300 years, will partially close beginning Monday for a two-year, $98.6 million renovation of its nave, the main part of the church. As its first major revitalization in over 70 years, the landmarked church’s project will restore parts of the original 1846 Gothic Revival style designed by Richard Upjohn. This includes rebuilding the chancel to its original size, increasing capacity by 140 seats and painting the interior walls and ceilings to reflect the original stone design. The reconstruction will move services and events at the Episcopal parish to nearby St. Paul’s Chapel, but the Chapel of All Saints and the churchyard, where Alexander Hamilton is buried, will remain open throughout the project.
Find out more
Hudson Square is undergoing another transformation. The neighborhood was once known as the Printing District because of the printing companies attracted to the large concrete and steel factory buildings located close to their Wall Street clients. In the 1970s and ‘80s, technology and design companies replaced the printing industry, attracted by the architecture, location, transportation options, and affordable rents. But the area is once again evolving. This time it’s experiencing a boom of what developers and realtors call “affordable luxury” condominiums (in the $1 – $2 million range) due to the largest privately-initiated rezoning efforts in the history of New York City. Not only is the neighborhood growing in height and residences but a large fund has been set aside to increase the neighborhood’s commercial mix, greenery, and traffic flow.
Zoom of the 1852 Dripps map of Manhattan, showing the proximity of downtown cemeteries, via David Rumsey Map Collection
Most New Yorkers spend some time underground every day as part of their daily commute, but some spend eternity beneath our streets, and in a few cases occupy some pretty surprising real estate.
Manhattan cemeteries are tougher to get into than Minetta Tavern without a reservation on a Saturday night because as far back as 1823, New York forbade new burials south of Canal Street. In 1851 that prohibition was extended to new burials south of 86th Street, and the creation of new cemeteries anywhere on the island was banned. But thousands of people were buried in Manhattan before those restrictions went into effect. And while some gravesites remain carefully maintained and hallowed ground, such as the those at St. Mark’s in the Bowery Church on Stuyvesant Street, Trinity Church on Wall Street, and St Paul’s Church at Fulton and Broadway, others have been forgotten and overlaid with some pretty surprising new uses, including playgrounds, swimming pools, luxury condos, and even a hotel named for the current occupant of the White House.
One year ago, Trinity Church Wall Street revealed plans for a $300 million mixed-use tower designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli that would link to the historic Neo-Gothic church by a footbridge over Trinity Place. Earlier plans for luxury condos were squashed by the community, so Trinity decided instead to build an office tower and community space that will “allow the church to continue to shape the area and advocate for the community in the future,” as the Rector, Rev. Dr. William Lupfer, explained. And it looks like the future is now; according to CityRealty, the Department of Buildings approved plans for the 26-story building and construction is underway.
Trinity Church Wall Street was built in 1846 by Richard Upjohn and is considered one of the first and best examples of Neo-Gothic architecture in the entire country. But behind its historic steeple, which made it the city’s tallest building until 1890, will soon rise a modern, 26-story, mixed-use tower. The Wall Street Journal reports that Trinity has revealed its design for a Pelli Clarke Pelli-designed building, which will be linked to the church by a foot bridge over Trinity Place. The new 310,000-square-foot structure will house the Trinity Church Parish Center at its base, along with a cafe, gymnasium, flexible space for classrooms or art/music studios, and church offices. Above the Center, on floors 10 through 26, will be commercial office space
More details ahead
- The QueensWay gets a major endorsement. [NYT]
- Trinity Church has filed demolition permits for 68-74 Trinity Place, where they plan to erect a 46-story residential building designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli. [CO]
- The Port Authority is considering selling off its real estate, including One World Trade Center, to fund the agency’s overhaul. [WSJ]
- Collegiate School, the country’s oldest independent school, will build a new ten-story building as part of Extell’s Riverside South site. [TRD]
Images: QueensWay rendering (L); One World Trade Center (R)
A map of Trinity’s current real estate holdings in Hudson Square
Trinity Real Estate, the property arm of Trinity Church, oversees 5.5 million square feet of office space in buildings that it owns in the city, a $3 billion portfolio. But now the Episcopal church is looking to branch out into residential development for the first time since it received 215 acres of land in downtown Manhattan from Britain’s Queen Anne over three centuries ago.
Led by Jason Pizer, Trinity Real Estate will build four luxury residential towers in Hudson Square and a part-residential tower near Wall Street, amounting to over 1 million square feet of residential space.
More on Trinity’s plans here