FINANCIAL DISTRICT — Trinity Church, one of the city’s wealthiest parishes, is floating plans to redevelop its ministry offices and top them with a 25-story residential tower.
The church’s vestry, or board of directors, is expected to decide at a meeting July 24 whether to replace the pair of 90-year-old buildings or embark on a $35 million project to gut, renovate and upgrade them, a Trinity spokeswoman said.
Plans for an opulent overhaul for the buildings at 68-74 Trinity Place, which sit directly behind the historic Broadway church, have long been a point of contention for a parish divided over the direction of the church, which is also a major property owner with 6 million square feet of real estate in Hudson Square.
Recently, the church posted two videos, each a separate roundtable discussion with architecture firms — Cook Fox and Pelli Clarke Pelli — that have prepared conceptual designs for new structures to replace the buildings.
Cook Fox’s soaring structure uses stone and glass, while Pelli Clarke Pelli, designer of the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place and Midtown’s Bloomberg Tower, employs glass and metal. Both designs would include a six- or seven-story base reserved for ministry activities, topped by a 25-story residential tower.
The church's preschool, currently housed in the 68-74 Trinity Place buildings, would move elsewhere in Lower Manhattan.
The designers said they were inspired — and conscious — of how their designs would become the new backdrop for one of the most iconic views in the city, of Trinity Church standing tall at Wall Street's western end.
Both design concepts imagine the ministry's portion of the building as mostly glass, highly transparent from the street and gardens of the church. The designs also include additional greenery and possibly a rooftop garden, to complement the openness of the church's outdoor space.
"We sculpted the building very subtly, to try to find that sweet spot between a building that rises and sets and looks like it's tailored to that specific spot, and yet it's still a calm backdrop to Upjohn's [Richard Upjohn, the architect of Trinity Church] masterpiece," Rick Cook said in the posted video.
The entrance for the church portion of the structure would be on Trinity Place, and the pedestrian bridge that spans Trinity Place would remain, but the residential tower would have its entrance on Greenwich Street, the Trinity spokeswoman said in a statement.
The church has not announced a timeline for the project.
The plan for a grand overhaul of the building has been at the center of bitter church infighting. The controversial rector of the church, the Rev. James Cooper, told parishioners he wanted to devote more of the church's funds to turn the space into a new state-of-the-art complex with a grand lobby and offices, classrooms and auditoriums — as well as possibly build a condo tower, DNAinfo New York reported last year.
But some in the church had said the money should be spent on helping the needy instead.
The Trinity Church spokeswoman said the anticipated income from the residential tower would defray the costs of building the ministry's new facility.
Cooper previously announced that he would step down as leader of the parish in 2015.