Archdiocese sells 30 vacant, unused properties
The sealed-bid sale of vacant or unused archdiocesan properties, including two former church buildings, was successful and ultimately could net about $3 million in proceeds for parish or archdiocesan ministries, said Elizabeth Lacombe, property manager for the archdiocese.
The former Sts. Peter and Paul Church complex on Burgundy Street in Faubourg Marigny, which was closed in 2001 as a result of the “Catholic Life: 2000” planning process, was sold for $900,000, the highest sales price received for any of the 38 properties in the sealed-bid sale.
The former church, school, rectory and convent buildings at Sts. Peter and Paul were sold to a development group headed by local attorney Blake Jones, who said he hopes to continue discussions with the Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association before deciding how to repurpose the properties.
Talking to neighborhood
“I would love to have more ideas,” Jones said. “I’ve met with the neighborhood association and told them the same thing. I bought it, frankly, because I thought that an assisted-living housing arrangement for the elderly would be appropriate for the school.
“The church itself is just so incredibly gorgeous that I’m not exactly sure what the options are. I’ve looked at two or three. One is as a community center, one is to see if there is a congregation that has outgrown its present establishment, and the third would be a film studio for some of these folks that want to do movies around here.”
Other significant sales included:
– A 189-acre undeveloped parcel in English Turn that Woodlands Conservancy purchased for $466,150.
– A 22-acre lot at Louisiana 1085 at Interstate 12 that CBG, LLC, bought for $326,000.
– The multi-use building that served as a church and school for the former St. Simon Peter Parish, which is expected to close in a few weeks for $309,000.
– A 23-acre parcel on the Lafitte-Larose Highway that sold for $193,610.
30 of 38 properties sold
Thirty of the 38 properties in the sealed-bid sale, which was coordinated by RE/MAX Commercial Brokers, either have sold or will go to closing in the next several weeks, Lacombe said.
The eight unsold properties – including the former St. Maurice Church on St. Maurice Avenue and the former Sacred Heart gym and school building on South Rendon Street (near Canal Street) – either did not receive offers acceptable to the archdiocese or the bidders could not come up with financing, Lacombe said. Those eight properties are still listed for sale.
“In good stewardship, we did not accept some of those offers in hopes of continuing to list the properties and receiving more fruitful offers,” Lacombe said.
There was a very good bid on the St. Maurice church and school, but the bidder could not come up with a financing arrangement, Lacombe said. St. David Parish has assumed the territory of St. Maurice, and the pastoral council and pastor must weigh in on any potential sale.
Unconnected with the sealed-bid sale was the sale of the former Annunciation church, rectory and parish hall, which was purchased by local businessman Julian Mutter for $296,500.
“Julian said he had no immediate plans, but it was going to be used for the community,” Lacombe said. “He is going to reach out to Annunciation Inn and the neighborhood association.”
Sealed-bid process helped
Charles Mullin, senior vice president of RE/MAX, said he was satisfied that the sealed-bid process, which creates “a sense of urgency” on the part of buyers, was able to attract serious offers.
Many of the properties were vacant land parcels that either had been donated over the years by individuals or purchased by the archdiocese for future use but were no longer needed. All purchases were subject to a clause that the new owner cannot use the property for any abortion-related purposes, including counseling, medical services or advocacy.
In the case of the sale of church properties, the proceeds will be used first to pay any debt that the former parish may have had, as well as expenses incurred in the years since Katrina for insuring and maintaining the property.
Closed churches update
Here is an update from Lacombe on church buildings closed since Katrina:
– Blessed Sacrament, New Orleans: The rectory has been sold; the church is still listed for lease.
– Epiphany, New Orleans: The pastoral council at Corpus Christi-Epiphany Parish is interested in a possible sale of the building.
– Immaculate Heart of Mary, New Orleans: The church has been demolished, but the archdiocese will keep the property in case of future pastoral needs.
– Incarnate Word, New Orleans: The school is leased to Catholic Charities for its Headstart program. The archdiocese is trying to lease the church.
– Our Lady of Good Harbor, Buras: The church was demolished, but there is interest in the property because it has a boat launch.
– Our Lady of Lourdes, New Orleans: Holy Rosary Academy and High School are using the school. The rectory is in decent shape. The church is shuttered.
– Prince of Peace, Chalmette: The church was demolished. ARC is using the former rectory as its headquarters.
– Sacred Heart of Jesus, New Orleans: The gym and two lots are up for sale.
– San Pedro Pescador, Florissant: The elevated church has been sold.
– St. Brigid, New Orleans: The church building and small rectory are being used for the Vietnamese community.
– St. Frances Cabrini, New Orleans: The church and school were demolished to make way for Holy Cross School.
– St. Francis de Sales, New Orleans: Under contract with the Ashé Cultural Center.
– St. Joseph Mission, Potash: Demolished; vacant land up for sale.
– St. Jude, Diamond: Demolished; leased land reverted to its previous owner.
– St. Julian Eymard, New Orleans: Rectory is being used as a priests’ residence. The school has been leased by the Orleans Parish School Board. The church is closed.
– St. Lawrence the Martyr, Metairie: New home of the Hispanic Apostolate.
– St. Louise de Marillac, Arabi: Church and part of the school demolished. Camp Hope leases the school.
– St. Mark, Chalmette: Demolished; land sold to the St. Bernard school board.
– St. Maurice, New Orleans: Church, rectory, gym and school are still for sale.
– St. Monica, New Orleans: Church sold to Urban Impact Ministries.
– St. Nicholas of Myra, Lake St. Catherine: Rebuilt as a mission church of Resurrection of Our Lord Parish.
– St. Philip the Apostle, New Orleans: Church was demolished; land is up for sale.
– St. Raymond, New Orleans: Church was gutted and hosted Operation Helping Hands. Up for sale or lease.
– St. Robert Bellarmine, Arabi: Vacant land up for sale.
– St. Rose of Lima, New Orleans: Leased by Bayou Treme Center.
– St. Simon Peter, New Orleans: Under contract for sale.
– St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, New Orleans: Sold to Antioch Full Gospel Baptist Church in 2008.