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July, 2016

Dear Friends,
I am happy to be able to share with you some good news for the future of our parish. With the enthusiastic approval of our Parish Finance Council and of Archbishop Sartain, we have entered, along with the Archdiocese, into a long-term lease arrangement with a local developer for the half-block of property south of the Cathedral on Terry Avenue between Cherry and James Streets. The parish holds title to the major part of that property; the remainder of it belongs to the Archdiocese.
The parish’s portion of the property was acquired over the last twenty-five years. The purchase price of the parcel at the corner of Terry Avenue and James Street that houses the Solanus Casey Center was partly donated by a generous friend of the Cathedral in 2005; the purchase of the large duplex just north of that was made possible in part by a parishioner’s generous bequest some years ago.
But there has been a down side to owning these properties—the monthly mortgage payments! The long term lease we are now negotiating will not only eliminate the mortgage payments, but also provide an income stream well into the future—funds that will function something like a modest endowment, helping us bridge the budget deficit we have been carrying for many years, and providing for the preservation of the Cathedral and the support—and perhaps even expansion—of our many ministries.
One of our priorities in entering into the lease will be to find suitable alternate locations for both the Solanus Casey Center and the Cathedral Kitchen Garden, both of which are housed on that half-block. We have several possibilities we are actively exploring. Happily, we have ample time to plan for these moves.
There will be a definite advantage to the Cathedral and to the community at large in the use to which the property will be put. The developers are Columbia Pacific, LLC, a local firm and a highly respected one. Their plan is to build senior housing on the property. We are happy about this because this is a project that is highly compatible with the Cathedral’s mission and will be a real benefit to the neighborhood and to the parish. Construction is likely to begin in mid-2017.
There is one more advantage: because we are choosing to enter into a long-term lease arrangement with the developers, rather than selling the property outright, the Cathedral will retain ownership of the property. Decades from now, when the lease expires, the Cathedral will be blessed to still have this asset at its disposal. Given the shifting needs of the Church and the evolving nature of our city, I am sure you can see the wisdom of this arrangement.
At moments like this I can’t but be reminded that each time we walk through the doors of St. James Cathedral, we are the beneficiaries of the foresight and generosity of the generations of parishioners that have gone before us. As pastor, I am particularly aware of their legacy. It’s a legacy that is embodied in everything we do here—our worship, our witness, our outreach—and, of course, in the beautiful Cathedral itself and in the wonderful parish facilities that we enjoy today. We should feel very blessed, then, at this new and promising development in the life of our parish. Like those who have gone before us, we get to hand on our own legacy to generations yet to come!


Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Michael G. Ryan




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804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303