Dean Letter: 5.20.21 Construction Update

Hello St. Paul’s,

Since I last updated you on the 525 Olive construction project, over 7 months have gone by. This week the project reached a milestone: Greystar has now laid the concrete for the 20th and final floor. There is still plenty to be done: constructing the roof, with its swimming pool, penthouse additions, and mechanical area, will take some time. And of course the interior is very much in its early stages, with glaziers, electricians, plumbers and more working on several floors at a time, following a logical sequence up to about 3 floors behind the most recently laid level.

If you are interested in the historical background of the project, I outlined it in my weekly letter of October 1, 2020, and you should be able to find that letter on our blog, All Our Voices (under the “about” tab on the website) (Or CLICK HERE). The construction has proceeded during the pandemic on schedule and in a very orderly and safe manner, and move-in is still scheduled for next February. It is awesome to contemplate the complexity of this project, and a privilege to have a bird’s-eye view of the progress. Sadly, the webcam on top of the Palm building is now of limited use as it shows only the lower half of the tower, but you can now see the tower from quite a distance. The view from the Laurel Street Bridge is quite striking!

As a quick refresher, the developer, Greystar owns the building and the 6th Avenue courtyard. They will manage rental apartments on the second through 20th floors, as well as parking levels that go down 5 floors underground. 18 of those apartments, distributed around the building, will be designated for tenants with very low income. Nutmeg and Olive, LLC, a subsidiary of the Cathedral, will own, in a condo arrangement, the first floor except for the apartments’ entrance lobby, the western half of the second floor, and below ground the majority of the first and second floor parking, a total of 70 spaces. We have an easement to use the 6th Avenue courtyard and explicit permission for a number of regular cathedral events such as the Palm Sunday parade, as well as flexibility for other outdoor events such as receptions. The courtyard will feature a labyrinth.

In our space, on the first floor, the leg on the 6th Avenue side will house the new and much enlarged Guild Room, which can be divided in two, plus a kitchen, green room, sound room and restrooms. On the Fifth Avenue side, which is zoned for retail, we will have two tenant businesses. The LLC is in the process of negotiating a lease with one tenant; the other, much smaller, space is still available.

The main entrance to our space will be in the middle of the building, accessible from the courtyard or by elevator from the parking levels. A second elevator from the parking levels will emerge in the courtyard just outside the cathedral itself. On the second floor will be the Cathedral offices, plus the archives (specially housed in a fire-resistant space) and a couple of conference rooms. The offices will mostly have windows onto Fifth Avenue. I recently noticed that you will be able to see into some of them from the Great Hall. We are awaiting the installation of glass to enclose our space.

On Friday this week the construction crew will celebrate with a “Topping Off Party”, a traditional marker of laying the top floor of a high-rise. I hope to be allowed to bless the building from on high.

See you on Sunday, and don’t forget to wear red for Pentecost!

Your sister in Christ,

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5 thoughts on “Dean Letter: 5.20.21 Construction Update”

  1. Thank you for this very informative update! Your words really help me picture what our Cathedral life will be like in these new, beautiful spaces.

  2. I am looking forward to the new archive space. It will be a world of change in so many good ways. That in turn will make space available for the music ministry to be more consolidated. An amazing amount of change in a few years. But good change! Thanks be to God!

  3. Dean Penny,
    Your blessing of the structure will be welcomed at the topping off ceremony.
    For your consideration;
    Please use a colored marker(sharpie) to put your signature and date on the highest piece of steel.


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