Two members of the parish finance council, Mr. Terry Cunningham and Mr. John Grady, provided an update at the Masses this weekend on the ongoing process to find a new and productive use for the former St. Bridget Parochial School buildings.
Here are those remarks:
“As you know from our last update in the Fall, Brendan Kelley, a parishioner and principal with Virtus Realty, has been actively marketing the School buildings since early September, 2012.
When hiring Virtus, the members of the finance council made clear, our initial preference was for Virtus Realty to find a long-term tenant that would pay the parish rent and operate a compatible use in the buildings.
Over these last six months, there has been no meaningful interest from parties interested in renting our former school buildings. Although two or three charter school operators have toured the building, with the recent school closings and changes at the school district regarding new charters, none of this initial interest has resulted in any offers to lease the facilities.
What has become very clear though is strong interest from developers to purchase the St. Bridget’s school buildings to convert the space into apartments. This interest is consistent with what we have seen at other parish properties in places like Manayunk and South Philadelphia.
The financial reality of St. Bridget’s Parish is that we remain in debt nearly a “half-a-million-dollars” to the Archdiocese due in large part to the parish’s subsidy of the former St. Bridget’s Parochial School.
Faced with this reality and the response from the real estate market, the parish Pastoral Council and Finance Council met jointly last week and recommended that we proceed with entertaining offers for the sale of the former school buildings. To date, we have received one proposal and we expect to receive interest and offers from others over the next few weeks.
Any sale of the school assets would be limited to the two school buildings and the Stanton Street lot and would not include the Midvale Avenue parking lot.
Any redevelopment of these buildings for residential use would also require the normal zoning approvals from the surrounding community through the East Falls Community Council and the City of Philadelphia.
The eventual sale of these assets will allow the parish to become debt free. It will also allow us to establish a strong reserve fund that will put the parish on a more solid financial ground, helping to assure the parish’s viability both now and well into the future.
We will continue to provide periodic updates to the parish community as additional information becomes available and we thank you for your support.”