Sale of 935 East Avenue
As the season changes and we approach Advent, I write to provide an update on the process of selling 935 East Avenue and our plans for a future move.
As a reminder of 935’s history as Diocesan House, the Diocese purchased the property from the estate of Elizabeth Sibley Stebbins in 1954. For many years since, the building has served us well — but a smaller staff and the closing of our retail bookstore operation at the end of 2014 substantially lowered our utilization of the space. The building provides approximately 12,000 square feet of usable space, about four times our need. The Building and Property Committee of Trustees began a formal study on utilization and alternative uses of the property in March of 2015, which ultimately led to the discernment to sell the property.
Our brokers, Cushman & Wakefield/Pyramid Brokerage Company concluded a sealed bid process last month, resulting in a purchase offer that we’ve now accepted and expect to close early next year. We will provide additional details of the purchase after the closing of the sale and include these details as part of our 2016 Diocesan Audit.
As we communicated in August, Diocesan staff have researched and visited potential interim office locations in anticipation of 935 East Avenue’s sale. Our criteria arose from surveys and conversations in these last few years of discernment: a more central location, handicap accessibility, access to the highway, and ample parking. We also discerned a need for flexibility, so that we could determine our long-term needs, vision, and strategy before committing to a more permanent property.
During this search process our staff visited both commercial office space and several parishes, including St. Peter’s in Henrietta. Based on the criteria above, St. Peter’s became a strong candidate for our interim office space. Their unused space also offered a large, open room — perfect for our substantial diocesan archives. Thus, we moved the archives to St. Peter’s at the end of the summer to ensure they would have a proper home and that we wouldn’t be moving delicate files in the dead of winter. However, we could not commit to renting the entire space until we knew the sale date of Diocesan House. We also wished to give meaningful consideration to all the saints who approached us as potential hosts. We give thanks to God for each of you!
I can now announce that we intend to relocate our offices and operations, on an interim basis, to St. Peter’s in Henrietta. The season ahead offers a meaningful opportunity for discernment about where and how God is calling us to make our permanent headquarters, and we’re blessed to have St. Peter’s provide us office space in this time.
We bid your prayers for the sale and our upcoming move. Please keep our staff in your prayers, as there will be much to do as we prepare to travel lightly. Finally, I want to make note of an upcoming invitation to be sent to the diocese: on December 9, we will gather at Diocesan House for prayers and fellowship as we give thanks to God for our time there and deconsecrate the chapel. There will be light fare and beverages, and time for those with a connection to Diocesan House to come and give thanks. Please look for an email with details in the coming days! As the antiphon during Advent reminds us of our core security, "Our King and Savior now draws near: Come let us adore him."
Your fellow servant in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Prince G. Singh
VIII Episcopal Bishop in Rochester