Philadelphia Archdiocese puts shuttered Lehigh Valley seminary up for sale

Philadelphia Archdiocese puts shuttered Lehigh Valley seminary up for sale
Archdiocese, owner of Mary Immaculate Center since 1996, needs the money.

The archdiocese on Monday added the 452-acre property in Lehigh Township to two others it plans to sell to nurse a $6 million budget deficit. Also on the block is Villa St. Joseph by the Sea in Ventnor, N.J., a shorefront property that has served as the summer vacation home for retired priests since 1963, and a former convent and parking lot at 18th and Vine streets in Philadelphia.

“It’s so beautiful,” Trexler said of the Mary Immaculate Center. Since the property sat vacant, “we were like watch dogs. We watched the place.”

In a prepared statement, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said: “Holding on to these properties at this time would be inconsistent with the mission of our Church.”

Funds raised from their sale will not be used to pay for the archdiocese’s legal bills from the latest grand jury investigation into clergy sex abuse and the criminal prosecution of Monsignor William J. Lynn, spokeswoman Donna Farrell said.,0,2912056.story

Those were the days.

Archbishop Chaput said in a news release. “It’s similar to what families have to do when their expenses are greater than their income. We just can’t afford to maintain and hold assets like Villa St. Joseph by the Sea and my residence. Holding on to these properties at this time would be inconsistent with the mission of our Church.”

I completely understand and agree with the Archbishops point. Hopefully the Archdiocese can get a fair return for these properties. Some of these properties are stunning.

The Villa St. Joseph by the Sea will be sold via auction on Sat, September 15, 2012.

(The Villa St. Joseph by the Sea was donated in 1963 by real estate investor Hannah Hogan)
Holy Family Center and its adjacent parking lot in Philadelphia..

Mary Immaculate Center in Lehigh Township (452-acres)

CNS photo/Sarah Webb

Residence in Philadelphia - located near St. Joseph’s University.

Things like this tear my heart apart. How painful. Once they sell that home in Ventnor, they will never get another place like that again. Come to think of it, once they sell any of these properties, they could never afford to even build anything like that today.

And there is nothing more painful than a now boarded up Catholic seminary that was once bursting at the seams with vibrant seminarians.

Good reason to start ( if we aren’t already ) praying for vocations to the priesthood and religious life !

Ventnor NJ is paradise on earth–probably the smartest and best looking people in the world hail from this perfect shore town. It must have been a tough difficult decision to make. Legend has it, if Ventnor NJ falls, so too the rest of country.

If you want the truth, I’m not sure the Church should own property like that Ventnor property if it’s not liturgical and it’s just being used for vacation space.

The others: well, it may be a shame to sell them, but if they no longer have seminarians to put in the seminary, I’m not sure why they should want to pay for the upkeep on the buildings. The other cases are probably similar.

This is occurring in my area as well. However, the money raised from the real estate sales here will go towards settlements in abuse cases. How very sad that these properties with such rich Catholic history will be turned into resorts or condos. It is easy to look at these properties and mourn the loss of those times in history when these facilities were a bustle of activity with religous life.

Money is fungible.

From the OP’s post: * “Funds raised from their sale will not be used to pay for the archdiocese’s legal bills…”*

Money is fungible.

It is sad to see some of these properties being sold, but in some ways I can understand why it is being done. As someone who grew up in the archdiocese, this and the closure of once vibrant and very busy parishes, schools and high schools in the area make it more real to me how a once very Catholic area (almost everyone I knew and lived around were Catholic and now so many have left the faith or are ambivalent about their faith) is now at a point where they have to sell property like this to survive.

The Holy Family Center and parking lot is right next to the Cathedral Basilica. Three buildings (the Holy Family Center, the cathedral and Archdiocesan building 222) are within the gated parking lot. Not sure if they are selling the entire parking lot, which is also used by all three, or how they would sell just a portion of the lot. It’s kind of an awkward portion to sell due to how it is all intertwined with the archdiocesan building and cathedral.

I don’t know how the money made from the sales can be separated from paying for the legal bills and such.

Who was the Saint that said, “… we should not become overly attached to places or people?”
It is challenging to live by these words, but necessary in these times. Arch Bishop Chaput is living these words and leading His sheep. May He lead his people to Gods heavenly mansion.

“Paradise on earth!” “Smartest and best looking people in the world!” “Perfect shore town!” Wow! I’ll bet millions or rich people are trying to move in there. The properties should go for astronomical sums! Good bye Los Angeles and that tacky Rodeo Drive; hello Ventnor!

Ventnor, NJ is adjacent to Atlantic City, the town which was the basis for the board game Monopoly. As I recall, Ventnor Place was one of the yellow properties. Pricey, but not swanky.

Still, Monopoly was designed back in the 1930s, so perhaps Ventnor’s fortunes have risen in parallel with Atlantic City’s.

BTW, the archdiocese sold Villa St. Joseph by the Sea last weekend. They got $4.5 million for the property, which was assessed at $6.2 million. The money will be used to close a $6 million budget deficit for this year.

The news article also mentions that St. Joseph’s University has signed a letter of intent to buy the archbishop’s residence. That property is adjacent to the university and will fetch $10 million if the sale goes through.

(Just a followup)

The Villa Saint Joseph by the Sea sold for $4.5 million at auction but not sure about the other two properties?

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