This will make it the most expensive renovation project on record at present. Even Cardinal Mahony's garrulous and controversial Los Angeles project is only a bit more expensive at $189 million.
It is certainly the case that at present, Catholic Churches are undergoing restorations that bring churches damaged by modern architectural experimenters and that there are also new Catholic Churches being built which look like churches, but there are still many churches undergoing these destructive attempts to "bring the Church into a new century", as Sacred Architecture opines:
It seems that the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 is now being used as the catalyst for renovation of some of the most significant parish churches, cathedrals, and basilicas in the country, many of them historic structures thus far preserved from the fashionable post-Vatican II renovations. At this writing the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, Kentucky, the San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio, Texas, St. John Cathedral in Milwaukee, St. Andrew Cathedral in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the Cathedral of St. Mary in Colorado Springs are all in the midst of renovations, to help their respective dioceses “move into the new millennium,” but not without artistic and spiritual casualties. Each of these cathedral churches is being subjected to a similar program of interior remodeling justified by the “ongoing liturgical revolution.”
At present, it is unclear what Cardinal Dolan plans on doing with the $177 million dollar planned budget. At this point, it would be interesting to find out just what the end game for this project is. Will the Cardinal be planning on ripping out pews, pushing the sanctuary into the nave and disposing of the altar rail? Or will this be what he maintains, all about maintenance. Pretty expensive maintenance, we must say.
Will it resemble Cardinal Dolan's earlier artistic efforts by omission at the very least, when he allowed a bas relief commemorating Archbishop Rembert Weakland, (known for paying his homosexual lover half-a-million in hush money to keep quiet)? Like this monstrosity? It might seem premature to some to express concerns like this, but some officials have pulled a fast one in the past when it comes to these projects.
In case people are saying that these wreckovations are a thing of the past, look at what happened to Trent's big edifice, St. Maria Maggiore. They've pulled the rug out before, and they will do it again.