Church owners set deadline in negotiations

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) and the New Atlantic Development have said that a decision will need to be made within 60 days in the negotiations with the Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF) over the possibility of that organization buying the former Blessed Sacrament Church building.

“We told them everyday resources are dwindling and it makes it harder to find a solution,” New Atlantic Development President Peter Roth said in an interview at the Gazette office today with JPNDC acting President John Stainton, Executive Director Richard Thal and spokesperson Sally Swenson.

JPNDC and New Atlantic Development bought the Blessed Sacrament Church campus at 365 Centre St. in 2005. The plan is to turn the church into luxury condos built by New Atlantic, but they are exploring whether alternatives are viable and have been in negotiations with HSTF for several months. Since the partners delayed the project last summer, they have incurred almost $200,000 in expenses.

HSTF held a rally May 3 at the church, advocating for its proposal to turn the building into a community and arts space, though there is no detailed plan.

Roth said the partners are committed to “trying to make it work for the Task Force.” He said it would be a “fantastic outcome” if the HSTF is able to buy the building and use it as community space.

But besides the cost of purchasing the building, the partners talked about the capital HSTF would need to renovate the aging infrastructure, as well as the operating costs of running a community space. Roth said it would cost “several millions dollars” to renovate the building.

Stainton said that HSTF has “not laid any groundwork” to those ends.

The JPNDC said at a meeting in February that its break-even price for the church was $1.2 million, but have since lowered the asking price by 32 percent.

Roth said if the negotiations fail, construction on the condos could start within 60 or 90 days.

3 comments for “Church owners set deadline in negotiations

  1. lisa
    May 19, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    i say re-open church, give the people of jp a house to worship God

    • ptownjunction
      May 20, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      My dear:
      1). Do a little reading and you would learn that the catholic church placed a restriction in the deed preventing the building from being used as a church ever again.
      2). Look around; JP has dozens of churches where folks can worship god. It’s not like JPers are being prevented from worshiping because one church has been deconsecrated (look it up).

  2. ptownjunction
    May 15, 2013 at 5:39 am

    The church building has been sitting there empty for more than 8 years. How much longer are we supposed to allow the JPNDC and other fringe groups hold this neighborhood hostage with their unrealistic pie-in-the-sky dreams, while buildings deteriorate and re-hab costs skyrocket. Sell the church or bulldoze it …. NOW.

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