Monday, March 18, 2013

Sale of Sacred Heart Church

A deed recorded late Friday afternoon (book 27082, page 180)caught my attention in two ways: The sales price was $1.2 million and the property being sold was part of the old Sacred Heart Church complex on Moore Street in Lowell. Sacred Heart was for more than a century the center of the South Lowell neighborhood and its closing several years ago was particularly difficult for many long-time parishioners. In August 2011, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston sold the property to Moore Street Development LLC for $540,000. That deed, found in book 25191, page 138, contained a couple of unique covenants. The first was a permanent restriction which prohibits the property from being used as an abortion clinic, a facility doing stem cell research, or as a business engaged in "prurient activity." The second covenant was called an "unjust enrichment covenant." It provided that if the buyer of the property was to sell it within a year of that sale, then the buyer would pay the RCAB a sum equal to 50% of the amount in excess of the sale from RCAB (less the cost of any improvements); if the sale was to occur within 2 years, then the penalty would be 40%, 3 years would be 30%, 4 years 20%, and 5 years 10%. The covenant would expire after five years. Friday's sale was of only one of three buildings. If you're familiar with the property, standing across Moore Street from the front door of the church, the church is the center building (that will have 16 residential condo units); the convent would be to the left (with 12 condo units); and the rectory would be to the right (with 8 units). It was the rectory that just sold for $1.2 million. We'll be watching to see when individual condo units begin selling.

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