When is the last time a developer asked the Downtown community what features should be included in a new Lower Manhattan skyscraper? Trinity Church, which is redeveloping its building at 74 Trinity Place (along with a smaller structure next door, at 68 Trinity Place), is inviting stakeholders (including local residents) to participate in a series of discussions about the vision for the new structure.
In a January 25 sermon, the Rev. Dr. Bill Lupfer, Trinity’s new rector, said, “it’s up to you, in the design process that we will open up, to develop a building that expresses our heart’s desire for this beautiful city of New York. It’s up to you to talk to the people who do not have a voice, who maybe are too afraid to express their heart’s desire and to enter the conversation.”
Rev. Lupfer added, “each and every one of you are welcomed in. We are on the edge of an enormous creative project.” He continued, “it will be a home that draws people in. It will be a home that you want to go in, because we will build it together.”
The invitation to help reconceive the development of of 74 and 68 Trinity Place may represent a dramatic break with the initial, 2013 plan for the site. Under the original proposal, Trinity Church had decided to tear down the 25-story office building behind the house of worship that has for decades housed its parish office, a highly regarded preschool, and other tenants. Trinity had intended to replace the building (along with 68 Trinity Place) with a 32-story tower that would contain up to seven floors for church use at its base, and 25 floors of residential units above. Trinity designated the architectural firm of Pelli Clarke Pelli to design the new building, and had begun the search for a development partner.
The plans for the new building initially included almost 300,000 square feet of space, and two entrances — one on Trinity Place for Church-related uses, and another on Greenwich Street for residents of the tower. The seven stories at the structure’s base were slated to host administrative offices, Trinity’s Sunday school, and rooms for use by community organizations. But one of the current tenants, Trinity’s widely admired preschool program, would have been forced to find space elsewhere.These expectations may now evolve into an entirely new plan, however, given Rev. Lupfer’s challenge to the Lower Manhattan community. “We are going to go out into the street, and we’re going to talk, and we’re going to listen, and then we’ll bring that back into our conversations here,” he said in his January 25 sermon. “We [are] ready to speak the langue of the street and learn from our neighbors,” he continued. “That’s the way that Trinity meets the economic injustice of this world.”
The first meeting at which local residents are invited to share ideas and opinions will be held on Saturday (February 28) at St. Paul’s Chapel (209 Broadway, at the corner of Vesey Street), from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The session will be hosted by the Rev. Lupfer, and will include architects from Pelli Clarke Pelli, the project’s designers. The agenda is to, “discuss ideas to create a mission-focused design for a new building at 68/74 Trinity Place.” Among the “questions for reflection” slated to be discussed are, “What features would you like to be present in the building at 68/74 Trinity Place?” Breakfast, lunch & dessert will be served. (Four additional charrettes, or stakeholders’ meetings, are scheduled for March 14, May 2, June 6, and July 7, all at St. Paul’s chapel and all beginning at 10:00 am.)
For more information (or to R.S.V.P. for the February 28 session), please call 212-602-0736 or click HERE. (R.S.V.P.s are requested no later than Tuesday, February 24.)