St. Joseph School Building in Fitchburg is Sold
To be developed into housing
APRIL 21, 2011, WORCESTER, MA – The Office of the Chancellor announced today that the former St. Joseph School building in Fitchburg has been sold to Christmas Oaks Development and Management, LLC for $245,000. The official closing was on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. St. Joseph School was closed in June, 2007.
All of the net proceeds from the sale go to St. Joseph Parish, Fitchburg. The Diocese has consistently followed the canonical principle that money from property sales remains with the parish with which the former parish had been merged. No portion of the net proceeds is retained by the Diocese of Worcester.
Upon learning of the sale, Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, Bishop of Worcester noted, “Given this challenging economy, particularly in cities like Fitchburg, I am glad that we have been able to conclude our negotiations and can transfer the former school to a new owner, especially a real estate development group which will convert the building into very attractive housing. The Cleghorn area of Fitchburg is certainly in need of new housing for its local population. St. Joseph School, which is a very stable structure, will be perfect for those who need affordable housing. This conveyance is a blessing for the people of St. Joseph Parish as well as those living in the neighborhood.”
The property had been on the market for more than three years. Deacon James Couture has been working with Fr. Richard Trainor, pastor of the newly configured St. Joseph Parish since July 2010. Foster-Healey Realty of Leominster has been assisting the parish and the diocese as the official realtor for the sale.
In commenting on the process, Msgr. Sullivan said, “The purchase of St. Joseph School concludes a lengthy process of negotiations and we’re all very grateful that it has come to an end. Moreover, I am especially grateful for Deacon Jim Couture’s endeavors over the last several years and that of another parishioner, Edgar Roy of Foster-Healey, who worked so hard to bring the sale to a successful conclusion.”
The Catholic Church has canonical norms regulating the alienation (sale) of churches and other parochial properties. Particular norms, or local laws, are established by virtue of the population size of a diocese, which regulate the approval process for transactions over a certain dollar amount. Since the transaction was significant, votes had to be taken on the transaction by the Diocesan Board of Consultors and the Diocesan Finance Committee. Both diocesan groups unanimously supported the sale.
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