Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle and St. James Cathedral Embrace Sustainability for First Hill Property Redevelopment

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today the Archdiocese of Seattle and St. James Cathedral announced plans to sell and redevelop four properties on First Hill with West Bank, a global developer recognized for its long-term commitment to sustainable construction. The vision is to create an inspiring carbon neutral community that enhances the future of the First Hill neighborhood, while supporting the ongoing mission of the Catholic Church.

“Thinking creatively about how we can better use our possessions to accomplish the mission of the Church is exactly what we need to do as good stewards of God’s gifts,” Bishop Paul D. Etienne said. “The redevelopment of our real estate in a very efficient and sustainable manner not only reflects our Catholic value of caring for our common home, but also provides us with resources to carry out our greater mission of bringing Christ to others. This important project is an investment in the First Hill community and in our future, ensuring that we can continue the good work of the Catholic Church.

The Archdiocese of Seattle and St. James Cathedral will sell four properties for development, including the St. James Cathedral Pastoral Outreach Center at 907 Columbia Street and the Archdiocese of Seattle Buildings at 710 Ninth Avenue (Paul Pigott Building ), 907 Terry Avenue (old Chancery Building), and 1104 Spring Street (Connolly House). As part of the agreement with Westbank, the historic Connolly House will be preserved.

Commitment to the environment

As announced in 2021, Westbank and its subsidiary creative energy have joined forces with Swedish Health Services on the First Hill in Seattle. Swedish – a subsidiary of Providence Health— is working with Creative Energy to modernize its campus infrastructure. As part of this project, Swedish will be able to divert excess heat from its First Hill campus to an energy sharing platform. Through this platform, Swedes will be able to share excess heat, which becomes a source of heating for other buildings connected to the platform, significantly reducing the neighborhood’s overall carbon footprint. This infrastructure investment is part of Swedish and Providence’s commitment to be carbon negative by 2030.

As part of the redevelopment of former Archdiocese and St. James Pastoral Outreach Center buildings, Westbank plans to create more than 1,300 residential homes across the housing continuum, connected to the neighborhood’s energy system.

“It is a pleasure to work with our partners in the Archdiocese of Seattle to realize our shared vision for First Hill,” said Westbank founder Ian Gillespie. “Our initiative will create low-carbon housing, infrastructure and amenities that will serve Seattle for generations to come. We look forward to continuing our work with the Archdiocese of Seattle and the Swedish Health Services team, not only to contribute to the long-term vitality of this community, but also to help First Hill significantly reduce its carbon footprint and to show global leadership in responding to climate change.

“Recognizing all of nature as the work of God, Pope Francis calls on us to do all we can to protect the earth from further destruction,” Bishop Etienne said. “Minimizing our impact on the earth is our responsibility as Catholics. Working with sustainability experts like Westbank and Creative Energy will ensure the redevelopment uses green building techniques, processes and materials, while mitigating future environmental impacts through the district’s energy plan.

Archdiocesan Offices and St. James Pastoral Outreach Center

“We are grateful for this opportunity to work with our partners to help shape the future of First Hill,” said Father Michael G. Ryan, pastor of St. James Cathedral since 1988. “This redevelopment will allow us to improve our office and gathering spaces, while significantly enhancing our ability to carry out our mission of worship and service.We are committed to being good stewards of our resources.St. James is part of the First History Hill since 1905, and we are thrilled to be part of shaping the first Hill of the Future and ensuring that St. James’s Cathedral, along with nearby O’Dea High School, remains at its heart.

The Archdiocese will identify a new consolidated office location for its 125 staff and St. James Cathedral will relocate offices and meeting areas currently housed in the Pastoral Outreach Center.

“Currently, we have our employees in four separate buildings, which is not only expensive to maintain, but also inefficient and a barrier to collaboration among Archdiocesan staff,” said Joe Schick, Chief Financial Officer of the Archdiocese. from Seattle. “Our plan is to merge all employees into one efficient office building, which reduces operational expenses, while providing a better experience for employees and visitors. This is a great example of our recently announced Catholic Real Estate Initiative in action. »

Support housing affordability

The planned redevelopment has the potential to generate more than $25 million for the City of Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability Fund, which the city will earmark for housing construction. This money will be made available to builders of affordable and low-income housing, such as Catholic Housing Services (CHS), one of the city’s largest affordable and low-income housing providers, which already operates two buildings on First Hill: Cathedral Place Apartments and Ozanam House.

For more information on the First Hill redevelopment, please visit

About the Archdiocese of Seattle

The Archdiocese of Seattle encompasses all of western Washington, stretching from Canada to Oregon and from the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. There are 72 Catholic schools, 174 parishes, missions and pastoral centers in the archdiocese, with more than 500 weekly masses celebrated in eight languages. Archbishop Paul D. Etienne leads the archdiocese with his auxiliary bishops, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo and Bishop-elect Frank Schuster. For more information on the Archdiocese of Seattle, please visit

About St. James Cathedral

St. James’s Cathedral is the cathedral church of the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle and its archbishop, the Reverend Paul D. Etienne. Opened in December 1907, the magnificent Italian Renaissance-style cathedral is not only a gathering place for the entire Archdiocese of Seattle and the wider Seattle community, it is also the parish home of 2,400 homes. The cathedral is known not only for its beautiful liturgies and extraordinary musical program, but also for its extensive work helping the poor and needy. To learn more, visit

About West Bank

Westbank is one of North America’s leading real estate development firms. Active across Canada, the United States and Tokyo, their projects include residential, hospitality, retail, workspace, rental, neighborhood energy, affordable housing, public art and net zero carbon development. Westbank fundamentally believes that the solutions to our greatest challenges can be found by helping our cities realize their full potential. They seek out every opportunity to help build healthier, more resilient communities, in collaboration with global creative talent. One of the largest net zero carbon developers in the world, they are actively expanding their low carbon district energy network in cities across North America. Westbank is based in Vancouver, with offices in Toronto, Hong Kong, Seattle, San Jose and Tokyo, and more than $50 billion worth of projects completed or under development.

About creative energy

Creative Energy is one of the largest district energy providers in North America and the owner and operator of one of the largest district energy systems on the continent. Based in Vancouver, they have been providing low-cost community power with 99.9% reliability to the city’s downtown core for over 50 years, with a plant connected to a grid over 15 kilometers (9 miles ) of pipes, heating more than 215 buildings and 45 million square feet of space. Since 2014, Creative Energy has expanded its network across Canada and the United States, with a mission to help dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the cities in which they operate.

About Swedish Health Services

Founded in 1910, Swedish is one of the largest nonprofit healthcare systems in the Greater Seattle area. It is made up of five hospital campuses (First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard, Edmonds and Issaquah); ambulatory care centers in Redmond and Mill Creek; and a network of more than 115 primary care and specialty care clinics located throughout the Greater Puget Sound area. Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialist treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, neuroscience, orthopaedics, high-risk obstetrics, pediatric specialties, heart transplant organs and clinical research. In 2020, Sweden provided $258 million to community benefit programs, including $30 million in free and discounted care in Western Washington.

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