Task Force buys Blessed Sacrament Church

July 19, 2013
By

HYDE SQ.—The purchase of the former Blessed Sacrament Church building by the Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF) from the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) and New Atlantic Development has been finalized, according to a HSTF statement issued after the Gazette first revealed the deal in an online article.

HSTF and JPNDC had been in negotiations for several months about a possible sale.

In a HSTF press release, the organization said it had signed a purchase-and-sale agreement with the JPNDC and New Atlantic.

“Going forward, we envision the church as the cultural centerpiece of our Latin Quarter, a place where all residents from our neighborhood, Jamaica Plain and Boston can gather, perform, create community and celebrate individual, family and community-wide events,” stated the press release.

The statement went on to say that there is a lot of work to be done before HSTF finishes the purchase of the church in the next 120 days—the standard duration for a purchase-and-sale agreement. HSTF will do its financial due diligence during that time.

“We look forward to working with our community, elected officials, donors and supporters to make this exciting project a reality for all our youth and families in Jamaica Plain and beyond,” stated the press release.

Sally Swanson, spokesperson for JPNDC, said, “No comment.” Peter Roth of the New Atlantic said in an email, “Stay tuned for a press release.” The Gazette did not receive one by deadline.

The sale price is not known. The JPNDC had said at a meeting in February that its break-even price for the church was $1.2 million, but lowered the asking price in the spring by 32 percent to $816,000.

JPNDC and New Atlantic Development bought the Blessed Sacrament Church campus at 365 Centre St. in 2005 and planned to turn the church into condos.

Some residents expressed their displeasure about the church being turned into market-rate condos, feeling that they were misled to believe that it would be community space or affordable housing when the JPNDC rallied against “gentrification” in a bid to buy the property in 2005. The JPNDC did not specify plans for the church building at that time, but after it won the property, its plans always included some market-rate condos in the church, though originally it included 20 percent affordable units.

The plan to turn the church into condos built by New Atlantic appeared to be moving forward last summer before significant community opposition propelled JPNDC to explore alternatives. After a series of community meetings, HSTF and JPNDC entered into negotiations over a possible sale.

HSTF has said it wants to turn the building into a community and arts space. HSTF had previously said it did not have a detailed plan.

Best of JP 2014