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Archdiocese sells Brighton campus to BC

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BRIGHTON — The Archdiocese of Boston announced that agreements have been reached to sell the Chancery buildings and Bishop Peterson Hall to Boston College and relocate the central administration to Braintree, according to a May 24 statement.

The three Brighton buildings on nearly 20 acres will net the archdiocese $65 million. The archdiocese said it expects the property sale to close by Aug. 1, 2007.

The plan already has the approval of the archdiocesan Finance Council, the College of Consultors and the members of the corporation of St. John’s Seminary, according to chancellor James P. McDonough. The sale also needs the approval of the Holy See, he said.

“We have reached a significant milestone in announcing this agreement,” said Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley in the statement. “Proceeds from this sale will allow the archdiocese to invest resources for the benefit of our parishes, clergy, St. John's Seminary and the many important programs that serve a large number of people.”

The archdiocese has also struck a deal with The Flatley Companies to use a nine-year-old, 140,000 square foot building on Brooks Drive in Braintree. Although the archdiocese has not released the terms of the agreement, they are “very reasonable,” according to Terrence Donilon, spokesman for the archdiocese.

The Braintree building will be home for all departments now located in Brighton, including the cardinal’s office, as well as other agencies and departments located in the greater Boston area. The archdiocese assured employees that no jobs have been eliminated as a result of the move. The archdiocese downsized staff last year, eliminating 50 positions.

A moving date has not yet been set, but the archdiocese expects all offices to relocate by July 2008.

Father Richard Erikson, vicar general and moderator of the curia, said that the move will help the archdiocese to continue to focus on communication, service and coordination.

“This is going to allow us to better serve the community,” he said. “It’s going to help us as a staff be better coordinated and communicate with each other better, and the beneficiaries of that will be the faithful of the archdiocese because it will allow us to serve them better.”

The Braintree office will bring archdiocesan services to one location. It will feature better meeting spaces, a larger chapel, more parking, a staffed cafeteria and greater classroom space. The archdiocese currently must turn away candidates to the permanent diaconate because there is not enough room for more than 30 men to study in the program, Father Erikson said.

Although the Braintree building is in excellent condition, the archdiocese will complete some renovations before the move. The building will likely get new carpeting, window treatments and paint. The archdiocese will also construct a multi-purpose auditorium and a chapel that seats 150.

The building is located just off three major roadways and is not far from public transportation. There are fitness and daycare centers, hotels, and a shopping center nearby. The property is also adjacent to the Blue Hills Reservation.

The Brighton property has been home to the archdiocese’s central administration since the late 1920’s. The archdiocese reached an agreement with Boston College in 2004 to sell 43 acres of the campus, including the cardinal’s residence and other buildings, for $99.4 million. In 2006, the archdiocese sold the Tribunal building and property to BC for $8 million.

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