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The Episcopal Church seeks to develop a skyscraper in Austin

The Episcopal Church seeks to develop a skyscraper in Austin

The Episcopal News Service announced this week that Bishop Stacy F. Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church, has released a Request for Proposals for the development of a parcel located in downtown Austin, Texas, that is owned by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society on behalf of The Episcopal Church.

Bishop Sauls announced that the redevelopment is Block 87: The Trinity Block, a city block at 7th and Trinity Streets in downtown Austin. The city block is the last privately owned, undeveloped city block in downtown Austin, which has been named the fastest growing city in the United States. Currently a parking lot, it has the potential for over 600,000 developable square feet.

The lot was purchased in 2009 by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society as a potential site for the Archives of The Episcopal Church.

Plans call for the development of the land with a partner for office, residential, and retail uses along with a new Archives of The Episcopal Church. “The Archives are currently located at the Seminary of the Southwest in space the collection has long since outgrown,” Bishop Sauls said.

“The Episcopal Church has been part of Texas and of Austin since its beginning,” Bishop Sauls continued, “We are particularly excited to be part of Austin’s development for the common good of this community for many reasons, including the fact that our next General Convention, our highest governing body, will meet in Austin in July 2018.  We are committed to this development being a benefit to all segments of the community and something of which that Austin will be proud.”

The parcel, known as “Block 87”, is described here.

According to the Statesman,

The church bought the block in 2009 from Austin real estate attorney Jimmy Nassour, paying about $9.5 million. The church planned to build a facility to house its national archives and provide space for meetings, exhibits, research and other purposes. It also envisioned other potential uses, such as outreach services to complement those of nearby social services agencies. But the church’s plans have since changed.


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Jay Croft

Hey, no one is going to rob you if you’re next to a police station!

June Butler

Perhaps the development of the skyscraper might include apartments units for low-income persons and the elderly. Rental costs continue to rise, and the mayor of Austin sees little relief in sight. Seems like an opportunity for the church to step in and provide help with affordable rentals.

June Butler

I wrote to Bishop Sauls with my suggestion, and he responded and thanked me and said it was an excellent idea.


Please follow the comment policy and post using your first & last name. – ed

I read in the accompanying article that a local real estate agent (not connected with this development) commented that “although Block 87 presents a “rare opportunity” for development, “this part of downtown is the least desirable due to the fact that you have a homeless shelter nearby and the police station. Those two buildings need to go before this area gets the attention it deserves.””.

I hope that as part of developing this property the Episcopal Church, as the property owner, can positively address this attitude and concern, and witness to the importance of helping the most vulnerable members of the larger Austin community.

Additionally, with all the calls to move the HQ of the church out of NYC, it seems like Austin would be a great location for the leadership of the church to consider, what with the growing reputation of Austin as a great place to live and the presence of the Seminary of the Southwest.

Eric Bonetti

Let’s hope the business end of the deal is managed better than has been the case with 815, or the parking garage at the National Cathedral. Our track record in these matters is not good.

Jay Croft

I’ve been to several General Conventions. At each, the PB&F folks cry poverty, limited budget, so-sorry-you-can’t-get-what-you-need.

And the Episcopal Church has nine and a half million dollars to purchase a parking lot?

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