Saint Mark’s is exploring the redevelopment of the St. Nicholas property for affordable housing as a key strategy in the broader vision of the Cathedral’s mission and purpose to seek and serve Christ in all persons. 

The Vestry formed the Affordable Housing Exploratory Committee (AHE) in September 2022 to further assess the opportunity of affordable housing on campus. This work is guided by our mutual ministry goals of Restorative Justice and Systemic Change, Intergenerational and Innovative Community, and Creation Care and Carbon Reduction. The Committee is still in an exploration phase to refine the vision of such a project on campus—no decisions have been made. 

UPDATE (April 2024): The Committee is happy to announce a number of additional developments, including the awarding of an additional grant to continue pre-development studies, sustainability planning work, preliminary architectural consultation, and upcoming forums (see below). Read the full April 2024 Update here.


Upcoming Events

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5, 7–8 P.M., via Zoom only

An Update on Affordable Housing at Saint Mark’s

an opportunity to hear from Committee and Vestry leadership on the project plans and ask questions.

 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 22, 6:45–8:15 P.M., in person in Bloedel Hall and by Zoom

A Cathedral's Complicity in Redlining and Restrictive Covenants

a forum exploring the impact of Civil Rights history and racial segregation to consider how church communities, including Saint Mark’s, have a responsibility to honest face this and respond in just ways in our time.


UPDATE (November 2023): Saint Mark's has received a $100,000 grant from Trinity Wall Street to support further research and exploration of potential residential development. Read Dean Thomason's message to the community about this exciting news here.

Complete videos of the Wednesday evening forum on September 13, 2023, and the Sunday morning Q&A on September 24, 2023, may now be seen below.

RESOURCES

TIMELINE

  • September 2022: Formed the Affordable Housing Exploratory (AHE) Committee with Vestry, staff and parishioner representation for a focused exploration.
  • February 2023: Affordable housing discussed as part of strategic visioning at annual Vestry Retreat. 
  • Winter 2023: Initial exploratory phase includes 20+ interviews with community organization, establishing guiding criteria and outlining plan.
  • March 2023: Vestry unanimously approved recommendation to move forward with a “formal” feasibility assessment, based on outlined criteria, and engage the services of a development consultant.
  • January 2024:  Feasibility study works refines vision of two potential capacity studies on the site;  Vestry believes affordable housing is likely the highest and best mission-related use of the St. Nicholas site and that parishioners are highly supportive.

 

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Co-chairs: John Hoerster and Emily Meeks

Members: Dean Steve Thomason, Lynne Cobb, Scott Kovacs, Re Knack, Greg Hamm, Bethany Hoy, Scott Hulet, Roberta Nestaas, Alexandra Thompson  

Questions? affordablehousing@saintmarks.org 


Check out this brief (2.5-minute) video from Dean Steve Thomason: Engaging Mission, Exploring Affordable Housing on Campus.


F.A.Q. about Affordable Housing and the St. Nicholas Site

Why is Saint Mark’s exploring affordable housing?

The Vestry has identified affordable housing as a missional initiative worthy of Saint Mark’s consideration. The continued rise in the cost of buying and renting homes in Seattle has exacerbated a housing crisis. Growth in the private market housing sector does not address the needs of those with lower incomes. More housing is needed that will remain affordable to lower-income households for the long term.

The Vestry  sees the possible redevelopment of the St. Nicholas property as a strategy serving the broader vision of the Cathedral’s mission and purpose to seek and serve Christ in all persons, to strive for respect and dignity for all people, and to build on our long-term commitment to address homelessness and hunger in the Puget Sound region.

If affordable housing is developed on campus, what is envisioned?

Neighborhoods matter to the fabric and well-being of families. This project tangibly creates an opportunity for many individuals and families to experience an affordable home closely connected to schools, transit, urban amenities, and green spaces.

The AHE Committee is looking to serve a multigenerational population at a variety of lower income levels. The AHE Committee and Vestry envision the design would be fitting architecturally with campus, include initiatives to minimize carbon impact, and create opportunity for meaningful connection for residents, parishioners, and community members to interact as part of daily life including the intentional use of greenspace.

What is the plan for the St. Nicholas building?

Any change in building use would unfold over a period of a few years. The structure has aesthetic beauty, history, and personal connection for many, but also has major repair, maintenance, and operational challenges. The AHE Committee is carefully assessing the costs and benefits of preserving the building, modifying the building, or pursuing new construction with the primary goals of safety for residents, sustainability, and financial viability.

Has a decision been made?

No. This exploratory process was initiated by the Vestry at Saint Mark’s and will continue to be guided by its leadership and the work of the Affordable Housing Exploratory (AHE) Committee. Saint Mark’s recognizes there are many stakeholders in this process.

How can I learn more?

Visit this page for updates, contact affordablehousing@saintmarks.org, or subscribe to the Cathedral’s newsletter here. (Check the "All-parish Announcements & Newsletter" box.)