Myths & Facts
Myth: Trinity Episcopal Church didn’t do enough due diligence and vetting.
Following careful vetting and a thorough evaluation of options, Trinity Episcopal Church decided that the McGroarty proposal was the best solution for the property because it preserved the historical structure and created the sufficient income to maintain the structure, provided worship space, and supported the community through employment opportunities and getting the property back on the tax rolls.
Myth: McGroarty is trying to rush the Trinity project through approvals.
This has not been our experience. We have been going through the standard process for zoning and adaptive use proposals. In fact, the original deadline for this project was nearly two years ago.
Myth: The Trinity Church congregation is going to run the inn and event space.
The inn and event space will not be run by the church. Once completed, Trinity will have a management team of 20 full-time employees and 10 additional part-time employees.
Myth: There will be a parking and safety issue at this property.
The proposal conforms to existing parking code requirements and does so all within the property. Two, one-way entrances and one dual entry/exit entrance ensures safe access to and from the property. For large events, we will arrange for a shuttle service to offsite parking.
Myth: Trinity will become a “party house”.
The plan for Trinity is to allow this beautiful, historic church to be saved, maintained and shared with the larger community. It would also allow for parishioners to return to their place of worship without the burden of significant operating expenses. The adaptive reuse plan preserves the beauty of Trinity and its worship services, restores the property to current operating codes, and makes necessary building repairs. All of this can happen because those costs are offset by offering a flexible space for a quaint inn, restaurant and special events targeted at tourists and the local community.
Myth: The proposed Trinity project will ruin the neighborhood feel.
The project will enhance the feel of the neighborhood and bring new visitors to the city. The church buildings will remain exactly as they are with no additions. From a visual aspect, there will be no change. The plans for Trinity would allow this historic building to survive and thrive. It will become a quaint inn, restaurant, special event space and continue as a house of worship. Many of the structures on the street already offer apartment rentals, fraternities, and other commercial accommodations through Airbnb, VRBO or serve as B&Bs. Inn residents can walk to the colleges and downtown restaurants and shops.
Myth: Why can’t you sell the Rectory and renovate Francklyn and Trinity Halls into apartments?
To respond to the question, one must understand the complexities of Historic Tax Credits (HTCs) and the costs associated with preserving the church sanctuary - $2.4 million plus.
Simply put, the project cannot be undertaken without Historic Tax Credits. To qualify for HTCs, the project would be transferred into a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), be “for profit” with the purchaser of the HTCs owning most of the LLC from a cash flow standpoint for the first five years.
In addition, per Part 1 approval of the project by the Department of Interior, the Department has determined that both the church and rectory contribute to the historic significance of the property and must be treated as one property. Historically, the Department has ruled the removal of one building (the rectory) disqualifies the whole property from receiving HTCs. Therefore, selling the rectory separately would likely disqualify the church and the rectory from receiving HTCs.
Even if the rectory was sold separately, Francklyn and Trinity Halls have two possible alternatives:
If retained as one, in the unlikely scenario the Department ruled the property still qualified for HTCs, there is still not enough money available from the sale of the rectory for preservation costs ($2.4 million) plus the additional costs to update the church for event space or other income producing alternatives to sustain it.
If the halls were separated, the Department would likely rule that the halls would lose HTCs since the property is no longer one.
In either of the above alternatives, there is insufficient money available to fund the preservation of the church.