GTS, MIA on Details, Hopes for Announcemnt ‘Soon’

GTS President Markahm, at the April 14 presentation. | CCNews file photo by Scott Stiffler

BY SCOTT STIFFLER | Further information of substance continues to reside in the “forthcoming” category, following an April 14 presentation by the General Theologial Seminary (GTS).

Promoted as a “presentation” open to the community, it had GTS President Markham alternately detailing and defending a possible 99-year leasing of GTS properties to the “Christian nonprofit” School of Sacred Music (SSM), whose financial ties to conservative Colin Moran met with protests from local residents noting that the money man’s dim views of LGBTQ+ and women’s reproductive rights clash with classic Chelsea values of individual freedom and collective inclusivity.

In this May 24 follow-up to our coverage of the April 14 presentation, we noted, “Sensitive to the seeds of mistrust sown by past deeds, President Markham declared to Chelsea Community News [CCNews]—in an email sent three days after the April 14 presentation—that GTS is “committed to regular updates and considering the different ideas put forward by the community… We value the relationship with the neighborhood and are committed to keeping the neighborhood involved.”

Absent any details from the date of that vow forward, a May 13 email to CCNews, attribued to President Markham, read: “We received approximately five emails from neighbors following the meeting. We replied to each one, and each suggestion has been discussed and considered. We will provide a further update to the Chelsea community when we are in a position to do so. We remain grateful for the interest the community shows in GTS.”

On June 11, CCNews again reached out to GTS, recalling that at the time of the April presentation, President Markham noted the need to solidify a lease arrangement was a few months away (in order to help resolve their $32+ Million in deferred maintenance and $5 Million in annual expenses). CCNews asked: “Given 2 months have passed since then, what is the current nature of the urgency you spoke of?” Another CCNews inquiry read, “Are there any offers/plans/scenarios on the table, apart from School of Sacred Music?”

The following day, a reply was sent, with GTS supplying this lone, on-record quote from President Markham: “We are continuing to explore every suggestion that comes to us. We are hopeful that we will be in a position to make an announcement soon.”

CCNews will continue to follow this matter, as it develops (hopefully, soon).

NOTE; This article was updated at 4:10pm on 6/21/2024, to repalce “debt” with “deferred maintenance,” in reference to the $32+ Million.


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