Church Finalizes Property Sale to BC

By Marie Szaniszlo
Boston Herald [Boston]
June 30, 2004

The Archdiocese of Boston yesterday finalized the sale of most of its headquarters to Boston College for $99.4 million.

The Catholic college closed on 43 of the archdiocese's 64 acres, including the mansion that had been home to Bernard Cardinal Law before he stepped down in December 2002 because of the clergy sexual-abuse scandal that ultimately forced yesterday's sale.

"While change is always difficult, the knowledge that the property will benefit another Catholic institution is reassuring," said Cullen Buckland, an archdiocesan spokesman.

Law's successor, Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley, announced in April he had agreed to the sale to finance an $85 million settlement with clergy sexual-abuse victims.

The college also has agreed to buy a tribunal building in two years for an another $8 million, and the archdiocese has a five-year option to sell its chancery for $20 million and St. John's Seminary for $38.8 million.

In addition to the Lake Street mansion, the 43 acres sold yesterday includes St. Clement's Hall, which the college previously leased, and St. Williams Hall, a retreat house where the archdiocese had trained lay ministers.

The college plans to use the building for its administrative offices and use the land for athletic fields once its revised master plan is approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, spokesman Jack Dunn said.

Although the college eventually may consider using some of the property to house faculty, Dunn said, it does not foresee using it to house students, an idea that has worried some residents in this quiet neighborhood.

The property includes the tomb of William Cardinal O'Connell, whose remains the archdiocese will have to remove once it has made new arrangements with his surviving relatives, Dunn said.


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