Adapted from the Office of Public Affairs
The Episcopal Church has announced the sale of Block 87 in Austin, Texas, in its entirety to CPG Block 87, a Texas limited partnership, on Dec. 14.
The Austin city block bounded by Seventh, Eighth, Trinity, and Neches Streets with a commercial parking lot was purchased by the Episcopal Church in 2009 for the ultimate purpose of building a national archives facility. Enhanced parking lot management generated increased revenue each year, which increased the asset value of Block 87.
In 2017, the church selected Cielo Property Group to partner in the development of this property to include space for the Archives of the Episcopal Church and an adjoining mixed-use project. In early 2018, the church and Cielo received approval from the city to abandon a bisecting alleyway, which enhanced the value of the block and paved the way for the mixed-use project to be built.
At its meeting in April 2018, the Executive Council received an update on the archives project.
“At that time, church leadership agreed that our decision to move strategically with the development of this parcel had resulted in a significant increase in value,” said the Rev. Canon Lang Lowrey III, an adviser on the project.
“While the original intent was to create a new home for the archives on this site, the appreciation on the property and the use of income from the parking lot to pay down debt, presented an unforeseen opportunity: to sell the property and, with the proceeds, explore other locations and accelerate building of the archives.”
“This transaction is a positive development,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said. “It broadens the church’s opportunities and creates new possibilities for addressing the archival needs of the church.”
“The sale of this parcel to CPG Block 87 LP refocuses our approach to securing a new home for the archives,” said Mark Duffy, director of the Archives of the Episcopal Church. “Developing a building in Austin Block 87 required a significant endowment to support operating costs. Unlocking the appreciated value through this sale gives us the flexibility to move ahead and explore different options for an archives of the 21st century.”
Episcopal Church Archives is the official repository of the church, including General Convention, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, church organizations, and the personal papers of its leaders.