To the Editor:
After months of turmoil, there seems to be a reprieve with regard to the initial plan to “sell or lease” the air rights of the Cathedral/Diocesan property. For the time being there is calm in the waters, but that does not mean the circumstances that triggered this storm are laid to rest.
By building this wonderful complex (that I have often referred to as a “Beacon” to the world), the greatest Armenian generation of the 20th century, made their mark. They, in my view, never thought that the future was going to be ‘so financially stressful’ that such severe measures would need to be made to the extent of what almost occurred a few months ago. But, there was definitely concern in this regard.
I remember my father, Joseph Chorbajian, (a member of the original Steering Committee and the first $1 million campaign chairman) telling me stories about how some members of the Steering Committee wanted to buy the empty lot on the southeast corner of 34th and 2nd Avenue with the intention of eventually “selling/leasing the air-rights”’ and having a privately-owned underground garage built to accommodate the cars for services/events at the Cathedral. They were forward thinkers!
It would interest the reader to know, that some of the naysayers to this idea on the Committee were individuals who were financially well positioned and honored today as being the main sponsors in the development/building of the complex. This is water under the bridge but had those naysayers heeded that sage advice, today’s problem would have been significantly of less concern, if at all.
I have spent months thinking about what my father and his peers what say if they were with us today as to what should be done next. For sure, they would never have approved the idea to outright sale or lease of the air-rights! That would have been completely against any concept they would consider given the dangers in doing so. Lest we remember, the purchasing the particular parcel of land which now houses the Cathedral/Diocese was done so with the idea that unrelated future construction could not occur thereby encroaching on the complex.