Sharing the Light

Sharing the Light

Archdiocesan Offices Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ about Archdiocesan Offices

  1. What are these buildings used for? Who bought them and for how much?
  2. What will the buyers do with the Chancery and Gabriel Richard buildings?
  3. Is the sale of the buildings due to archdiocesan financial difficulties?
  4. What will the Archdiocese do with the proceeds from the building sales?
  5. Is St. Aloysius Parish next door to the Chancery Building affected by the move?
  6. Are the buildings being sold at, below, or above market rates?
  7. What are the archdiocesan lease details at 1212 Griswold?
  8. How much is the Archdiocese paying to maintain its occupancy at the Gabriel Richard Building and the Chancery while waiting to move into 1212 Griswold?
  9. How will the Detroit Archdiocese save money over the long term by selling buildings it owns to become a tenant?
  10. Will Detroit Archdiocese jobs be eliminated by selling these buildings and moving into smaller facilities?
  11. Are Changing Lives Together, Catholic Services Appeal, or archdiocesan assessment funds involved in these transactions?
  12. Was any consideration given to consolidate archdiocesan offices in the Gabriel Richard Building, at the Chancery Building, or at Sacred Heart Major Seminary? Was constructing a new archdiocesan-owned building considered?
  13. How long has the Archdiocese owned the Chancery Building at 1234 Washington, the former bank building at 1242/1244 Washington, and the Gabriel Richard Building at 305 Michigan Avenue?
  14. How old is 1212 Griswold? To what extent is it being renovated? Who’s paying for the renovations?
  15. Are all Central Services staff moving to 1212 Griswold?

1. What are these buildings used for? Who bought them and for how much?

The Chancery and Gabriel Richard buildings house the Central Service operations of the Detroit Archdiocese, which supports parishes, schools, and other Catholic institutions in southeast Michigan. The archdiocesan Print Shop provides printing services to archdiocesan ministries and Central Services departments as well as parishes, schools, other Catholic entities, and nonprofit agencies.

A $1.8 million purchase agreement is in place for the cash sale of the Gabriel Richard Building at 305 Michigan Avenue to GRB New Detroit, LLC. The archdiocesan Chancery Building at 1234 Washington Boulevard in downtown Detroit and an adjacent vacant two-story building have been sold to Capitol Park Partnership, LLC for $1,250,000. The archdiocesan Print Shop building, at 1501 6th Street in Corktown, has been sold to a private telecommunications company for $204,000.

2. What will the buyers do with the Chancery and Gabriel Richard buildings?

It is our understanding that Capitol Park Partnership, LLC intends to convert the Chancery Building to residential use with the former bank property next door to be used for parking. GRB New Detroit is considering options for the Gabriel Richard Building including a possible mix of ground-floor retail with office, residential or a combination on the other nine floors.

3. Is the sale of the buildings due to archdiocesan financial difficulties?

The Gabriel Richard Building and Print Shop building sales were part of recommendations in 2009 to stabilize archdiocesan finances, which have been in the black the last two fiscal years. In 2012, the Archdiocese sold a two-story building at 1209 Washington, across the street from the Chancery. These building sales are part of ongoing efforts to lower expenses and improve operational efficiencies.

4. What will the Archdiocese do with the proceeds from the building sales?

Funds from the sales will be deposited into the archdiocesan Loan Deposit Program (LDP) and a portion used for the new space build-out at 1212 Griswold, as well as for the costs of moving and relocation.

5. Is St. Aloysius Parish next door to the Chancery Building affected by the move?

St. Aloysius and its parish ministries are unaffected by the sale of the Chancery Building. The St. Aloysius church building will remain archdiocesan property. St. Aloysius will keep its offices on the 1st floor of the Chancery building and retain the basement through a long-term lease between the Archdiocese of Detroit and Capitol Park Partnership, LLC. The lobby and elevator area of Chancery will become the property of Capitol Park Partnership, LLC.

6. Are the buildings being sold at, below, or above market rates?

All of the buildings are being sold at fair market value.

7. What are the archdiocesan lease details at 1212 Griswold?

The Archdiocese will lease five or six floors of the 13-story building at 1212 Griswold in downtown Detroit’s Capitol Park. The Archdiocese has a 20-year, market-competitive lease at 1212 Griswold. The gross lease is for a maximum of 44,000 square feet. The occupancy costs at 1212 Griswold will be substantially less than the occupancy costs incurred by the Archdiocese in the Gabriel Richard and Chancery buildings.

8. How much is the Archdiocese paying to maintain its occupancy at the Gabriel Richard Building and the Chancery while waiting to move into 1212 Griswold?

The Archdiocese is paying only the operating expenses at both properties consistent with past expenses. Capital expenses, such as roof, facade, plumbing and electrical repairs will be the responsibility of the new building owners.

9. How will the Detroit Archdiocese save money over the long term by selling buildings it owns to become a tenant?

The Archdiocese will spend less to lease a smaller amount of office space than it currently spends to maintain and make capital improvements as an owner of multiple aging buildings. The Archdiocese is monetizing its investments in the four buildings at market competitive prices, eliminating its outlays for upkeep and capital costs, and consolidating its operations to achieve a reduction in occupancy costs. The Archdiocese will no longer be burdened by the upkeep and replacement costs associated with those systems and move into newly rehabbed, energy-efficient facilities with new infrastructures. The Archdiocese has invested several hundred thousand dollars in recent years to maintain the buildings, with more such expenses anticipated in the years ahead.

10. Will Detroit Archdiocese jobs be eliminated by selling these buildings and moving into smaller facilities?

The building sales and lease at 1212 Griswold are not intended to achieve a reduction in the head count of Central Services. About 185 Central Services staff will relocate to the new offices. These actions are designed to improve collaboration among archdiocesan staff and business units, reduce operating costs, and realize operational efficiencies. These moves follow a Central Services staff and operations downsizing that occurred in 2009 as part of several recommendations approved by Archbishop Vigneron to stabilize archdiocesan finances. The Gabriel Richard Building was put on the market in 2009.

11. Are Changing Lives Together, Catholic Services Appeal, or archdiocesan assessment funds involved in these transactions?

No. Preparing the space at 1212 Griswold and implementing the move will be paid with proceeds from the building sales. Funds remaining from the build-out of space at 1212 Griswold will to be used to strengthen the archdiocesan Loan Deposit Program.

12. Was any consideration given to consolidate archdiocesan offices in the Gabriel Richard Building, at the Chancery Building, or at Sacred Heart Major Seminary? Was constructing a new archdiocesan-owned building considered?

New construction was ruled out as inconsistent with Together in Faith, too costly, and would add to archdiocesan debt. The required capital investments in the Gabriel Richard and Chancery buildings were prohibitive. The building adjacent to the Chancery has long been vacant and in disrepair. The sale and consolidation of Central Services office operations to 1212 Griswold will lower archdiocesan operating expenses and eliminate capital improvement costs. It will cost the Detroit Archdiocese less to lease a maximum of 44,000 square feet at 1212 Griswold than to own and operate 150,000 square feet in four aging buildings with significant exposure to capital expenses. Archbishop Vigneron, with the support of the archdiocesan Finance Council and College of Consultors, decided that leasing newly-renovated space near the Chancery and Gabriel Richard Buildings was the best option.

The Archdiocese has renewed its commitment to Detroit’s core downtown area and is proud to be part of the Capitol Park redevelopment and the city’s overall revitalization by moving into newly-renovated space in a formerly vacant building, while making available three buildings for residential, commercial, and office development.

13. How long has the Archdiocese owned the Chancery Building at 1234 Washington, the former bank building at 1242/1244 Washington, and the Gabriel Richard Building at 305 Michigan Avenue?

The Chancery Building was purpose-built as the headquarters building of the Detroit Archdiocese in 1926. The Gabriel Richard building was built in 1910 for the Weil Furniture Company as a mixed-use building with retail on the ground floor and offices and warehouse space above. It was purchased by the Detroit Archdiocese shortly after World War II, which has owned and occupied the building since. The Archdiocese purchased 1242/1244 Washington Boulevard in 2008. While the Chancery and Gabriel Richard buildings have their part in archdiocesan history and ministry, almost all Central Services staff will be in one location, under one roof, with increased collaboration in the service of God’s people.

14. How old is 1212 Griswold? To what extent is it being renovated? Who’s paying for the renovations?

Formally known as the Chamber of Commerce Building and the Detroit Saving Bank Building, 1212 Griswold was Detroit’s tallest building when construction was completed in 1895. Listed as part of the Capitol Park Historic District and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999, 1212 Griswold is the oldest standing steel-frame building in Detroit. The landlord is responsible for the exterior shell of 1212 Griswold, the building core and systems, and the build-out of archdiocesan space. The Archdiocese is responsible for the design of its space.

15. Are all Central Services staff moving to 1212 Griswold?

About 185 Central Services staff will relocate to 1212 Griswold, except for the archdiocesan Office of Priestly Vocations, the Archives Office, and the Print Shop production facilities. Vocations staff will remain at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. The Archives Office will move from the Chancery Building to the former high school building at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. The Print Shop will relocate from Corktown to the former high school at Sacred Heart. The space planning process for 1212 Griswold will include the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO).