Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Cathedral Campus Redevelopment Plan: Questions and Answers (6)

This blog by LLC Manager Mark Lester is the latest in a series of Questions and Answers about the Campus Redevelopment plan.  See all entries here.


Q:  What happened to the plan we have heard about to complete the Cathedral’s east end and transepts and add a tower?

A:  As a twenty-five year member of the St. Paul’s community, I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t a plan, either active or in the background, to develop the Cathedral’s property holdings in one way or another.  But equally true is that the nature of what that development would entail has evolved and changed dramatically over those years. 

Some of you may remember the discussion of building the Wolterstorff Center for Ministry, in honor of the first bishop of the Diocese of San Diego.  When we first purchased the parcel at 5th and Nutmeg, where the Vue on 5th project is rising, we hoped to add much needed parking for the Cathedral.  Later we sought to develop that site in a way that would include diocesan office space.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to close Nutmeg Street between 5th and 6th Avenues and create a gated Cathedral close?  But with the passage of time, circumstances changed, or obstacles were discovered that hindered the original plan.  Planning for the redevelopment of the Cathedral campus has turned out to be much like the rest of life:  full of changes and at times very complicated.

At one phase of the planning process, we envisioned a significantly completed Cathedral along the lines of the original design by Philip Frohman as an outcome of the project. There was even a model of the finished product displayed for quite some time near the baptismal font for all to see as they entered.  Those enhancements remain beautiful goals.  However the reality of the situation is somewhat more sobering:  estimates of the cost for this work now range from $15 - $20 million, far more than we can realize from the sale of lots on the north half of our block. This dream simply isn’t realistic in the context of the redevelopment project that is currently permitted by the City.  The great medieval cathedrals often took centuries to complete; our beloved building is just past 60 years old.  The hoped-for completion of the Cathedral may occur at some point, either through legacy gifts or a capital campaign, and there may be modest enhancements as part of the redevelopment project, but full completion is beyond the scope of our projected resources from the current phase of redevelopment.

We now live in an age where the expenditure of huge sums of money on enhancing an already functional worship space, when other calls to service in Christ’s name loom so large, raises questions of priorities, and we prayerfully choose instead to use our resources to maximize our ability to serve the community.


The project we're now beginning, of developing the Olive St. Parcel, will result in new and increased program space for our ministries, along with replacement of the current office space, and a doubling of available parking.  It will also add several million dollars to the Cathedral's enduring funds; something that is needed to offset the loss of rental income from the Park Chateau apartments.  And while not completing the physical Cathedral, this project will help to ensure that the fine liturgy and music, education for all ages, and service ministries of our beloved community will be able to grow and expand as we move forward in response to God’s call.

- Mark Lester, LLC Manager



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is it not possible to at least add the tower on the 5th St. entrance of the cathedral? I think it would give a more completed look to the building and also sends a visible message that we are here. It's easy to drive by SPC in the day and not even notice it. The tower would at least draw people's attention to SPC. If you build it they will come. Just a thought.
Bob Boyd