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Bids received on first set of reconfiguration properties


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BRIGHTON — The time period for submitting offers on the first set of properties from closed parishes concluded this week. Final calls for offers were sent out two weeks ago, and a significant amount of activity was expected as the deadline approached, said David H. O’Brien, director of properties of the Archdiocese of Boston.

O’Brien added that there has been “considerable interest” in the properties so far.

The first 16 properties were put on the market on Nov. 15 and the archdiocese said they would be marketed for at least 90 days. The offers are not necessarily final offers but will give the archdiocese an “understanding of interest,” O’Brien said.

Tom Walsh, who has been placed in charge of overseeing brokerage process, will evaluate the top potential buyers taking into account their track record, contingencies in their offer, whether or not they have the means to support their bid and the intended use of the property. Input will also be sought from the archdiocese’s Real Estate Advisory Committee.

This approval process will take at least 30 days to complete, and buyers will have at least 60 days after that to prepare final offers, said Walsh.

Top offers will be presented at a meeting of the archdiocesan finance committee with Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley for final approval.

Since November, the number of properties on the market has grown to 31. Closed parishes with appeals pending to closure will not yet be marketed or sold.

Before a piece of real estate is put up for sale, the brokerage firm selected to market it collects information such as the property’s physical description, mechanics and zoning for the prospective buyers, said Jim Belli, a broker from the Codman Company which is marketing several of the archdiocesan properties. The firm has comprehensive mailing lists in order to send this information out to people who may be interested in the properties.

Though potential buyers are considering the properties for a variety of uses, Belli said the greatest amount of interest is coming from other religious groups.

“There are lots of churches looking at some of these properties, and they present different challenges and have different concerns than a developer might have,” he said.

He cited the example of one closed church, “It’s got a large parking lot that goes along with it, and it’s just in an area where it’s accessible from lots of neighborhoods and communities and, for that reason, we’ve had a lot of churches looking at it.”

Each property attracts a different group of potential buyers, Belli continued. “There’s nothing cookie-cutter about any of the properties, from what I’ve seen.”

While Codman has received some offers on properties, the majority of offers were expected this week.

“We’re not in a position to negotiate or counter anyone’s offer so there really isn’t any incentive for anybody to put those offers in until we get a little bit closer to that deadline,” he said.

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