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Boston Cathedral Leases Land to Multifamily Developer

Phil Hall
Feb 17, 2015

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston is moving from the sacred to the profane: It has decided to become a landlord by leasing the parking lot to one of its cathedrals to a multifamily housing developer.

The Boston Globe reports that the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston’s South End has signed a 99-year lease with New Atlantic Development to turn the parking lot owned by the cathedral into a 160-unit rental apartment complex with ground floor retail space that may be used for a restaurant or a café. The majority of the apartments will be available with rents ranging between $2,500 and $4,500 per month; 21 units will be set aside at below-market rates for tenants that meet local affordable housing income requirements.

And in view of Boston’s notorious lack of available street parking, the cathedral will maintain 70 spaces in the complex’s underground parking lot for its parishioners. The project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2016.

While the terms of the agreement were not made public, but the project is expected to help alleviate the financial support of the cathedral, which carries a $900,000 annual budget that includes a free medical clinic and a food pantry—the archdiocese subsidizes 40 percent of the cathedral’s operating costs.

“We have to come up with creative ways in which to help the parish sustain itself,” said the Rev. Kevin O’Leary, rector of the cathedral and a driving force behind the new development deal.

However, the archdiocese made it clear that while it would consider similar development opportunities in select situations, it had no desire to become heavily involved in the residential or commercial real estate development of its properties.

Feb 17, 2015