The goal to determine the most beneficial use and disposition of the school and convent property while meeting the established objectives set by the Campus Redevelopment Committee has to-date been an arduous task. As a reminder, the established objectives that any sale of the property must meet are to:
- Produce an end use for the property that would be in synergy with the mission of the parish community.
- Provide a means for the parish to extinguish the parish debt to the Archdiocese.
- Provide an on-going revenue stream for the parish.
- Assist in building a new parish center and replacement of the rectory (in conjunction with funds from a parish capital campaign).
The last update provided to the parish conveyed that an RFP (Request for Proposal) had been developed, in coordination with the Archdioceses, that invited submissions of purchase offers for the property in conjunction with a planned subdivision of the property to be purchased. Six (6) proposals were received from interested parties. Of the six (6) proposals, five (5) proposed the construction of market rate apartments or senior citizen housing. The sixth (6th) proposal was submitted from a private school who educates students who, though intellectually capable, have had difficulties in school typically due to language-based learning differences. The private school intends to refurbish the school building, raze the convent and improve the surrounding property for their planned purpose of continuing to utilize as an educational facility.
Over the summer months, the evaluation process by all the interested parties as to what potentially could be built or established on the property was severely affected by the State of New Jersey’s newly published stormwater management regulations. In short, these regs require all new projects to account for a higher rainfall intensity that will increase flood elevations and amend groundwater discharge standards. All this evaluation has taken time, amended estimates and revised plans. As of today, the private school has shown the greatest interest in purchasing the property and discussions have moved forward with them. A Letter of Intent was offered by the school and terms for purchase are still being negotiated to assure they meet the parish’s objectives.
With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we believe we are very close to finalizing an agreement. We will continue to report on how these discussions proceed in the weeks ahead and we ask for your continued prayers and support as we look to complete this phase of the redevelopment process and move forward with the next. Once concluded, it will set the stage to advance with the planning for the new Parish Center and the launch of a parish capital campaign which will be necessary to ensure that the parish meets its objectives.
Friends, your continued prayers are essential as we approach finalizing the deal. As I have stated in the past, my plan is to schedule a parish town-hall meeting at which time the plan for the campus redevelopment will be presented to parishioners.