The rumor isn’t a rumor any more. Now it’s fact. The Archdiocese of Boston is selling its Brighton property and moving the chancery to the suburbs, specifically Braintree. The new offices will be in an office building owned by billionaire developer Thomas Flatley, located just off Route 128/Route 93 between the Randolph exit where Lantana’s function hall is and the old drive-in movie theatre by the South Shore Plaza exit.
(Local trivia: The same stretch of highway is designated as both north and south —- going in the same direction. Thus one can be traveling on Route 128 North and Route 93 South at the same time and vice versa.)
Here’s a link to a Google map showing the location.
The Archdiocese is selling the whole Brighton property, except for St. John’s Seminary, to Boston College for $65 million. BC expects to submit a master plan for the site to the city within the next month. They’re already calling it their Brighton campus (as opposed to the Chestnut Hill campus), even though they’re essentially across the street from one another.
All 200 chancery employees plus some other archdiocesan offices not located in Brighton are expected to be moved to the new location by July 2008.
The new building, which is currently home to Boston Financial Data Services but who is in the process of moving to my hometown of Canton, is 140,000 square feet of office space. No word on whether they will take the entire building. However, if you’ve ever been in the chancery offices, especially the Peterson Hall building, you’ll know that this will be a good thing. The present accommodations are a conversion of old seminary classrooms and dorms, whereas now they have a chance to create a good space from the ground up.
My guess is that with Flatley being the devout Catholic he says he is, the archdiocese is getting a very good deal on the space too. (He was quoted in a local newspaper as saying he couldn’t possibly charge the disciples of the Man he admires most market rates or something to that effect.)
This is a significant development. Now I wonder how long before this is spun into a negative. Boston Mayor Tom Menino has already started the ball rolling. We should expect to hear from Voice of the Faithful, the Council of Parishes, and lawyers for sex-abuse plaintiffs next.
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