Common Roots: Ancient Evangelical Future Conference

Protests greet Manhattan cathedral’s development plans

Protests over plans by Manhattan’s Cathedral of St John the Divine to build luxury condominiums on its precincts sparked a demonstration on 6 April 2014 led by local political leaders, who charged developing the 11 acre site was sacrilegious, while community activists charged building a 430-flat tower block would drastically alter the community. “The cathedral’s being an atrocious neighbor,” said State Assemblyman Daniel J. O’Donnell. “They just want to make the most money possible, and if you just want to make the most money possible, you are a for-profit real estate developer and should be treated as such by the law.” U.S. Congressman Jerald Nadler (D. NY) it was an outrage that the cathedral would seek a short term solution that would negatively impact the neighborhood in its search for cash. “Can you imagine this happening beside the Notre Dame?” the congressman asked the New York Daily News. However, the Very Rev. James Kowalski, told the New York Times developing the property was necessary to help cover the shortfall in its $12 million annual budget. The question facing the cathedral chapter was “if the cathedral was not supposed to be like a Salisbury Cathedral in the middle of land but an urban cathedral with buildings that had been built and were deteriorating, what would be the best use of the land to advance the mission of the cathedral,” the dean said.

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