The Associated Press reported today in my local newspaper that the Archdiocese of Boston has signed a 99-year lease with a developer to build rental housing, retail space and a garage on the Cathedral of the Holy Cross back parking lot. Most of the details are confidential, but the building is to include 160 units and 70 parking spaces for the Cathedral.
This is a disturbing project that is totally unnecessary. This is one of Cardinal Sean's pet projects to try to get more income for the Cathedral, which only averages $1200 per week in offertory plus the parish taxes.
How is building apartments on an existing parking lot really going to aid the Archdiocese? It's not. This is a stupid move on the cronies in Braintree. This is a bonehead play on that of the Cardinal and rector Fr. Kevin O'Leary. (Mr. Wonderful from Shark Tank would not do such a deal.)
Don't expect low-income or Section 8 tenants in these units! A one-bedroom in Boston could go from $2000-$4000 per month, depending on the amenities. Lucky you can get a studio for $1500. And don't expect good Catholics to rent here either. With all the fiscal and moral problems the Archdiocese has, and a combination with anti-discriminatory housing laws, anyone regardless of...must be able to rent as long they pay rent. I would not rent here, since the rent will most likely be over $5000 for a one-bedroom because the landlord (the Archbishop of Boston) have to pay the developer/property manager, so he will most likely get $2500 per unit, which would be $400,000 per month and $4.8 million per year!
Retail space? Forget about it, unless it is a Catholic gift shop staffed by nuns.
Only 70 parking spaces in the garage? Not nearly enough for the many people who can fit in the Cathedral. What the Cathedral really needs is to build a multi-story garage instead of rental housing to accommodate the parking situation. Then this would not force people to take the broken MBTA to church.
Finally, this is a pet project. It is a joke before a shovel breaks ground. Besides a parking garage, what the Cathedral really needs is the high altar and rail restored and the Traditional Latin Mass restored to the main sanctuary and not left in the basement. The Cathedral needs to be the holy place it was consecrated for.