Saint Joseph’s to buy cardinal’s mansion

Posted: September 07, 2012

Saint Joseph's University announced Friday that it has signed a letter of intent with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to buy the cardinal's mansion on City Avenue for $10 million.

The 16-room stone house, located on 8.9 acres adjacent to the university's 48-acre campus, was purchased in 1935 by Cardinal Dennis Dougherty for about $117,500. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is living there now, but plans to move to an apartment at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood.

"Acquiring this adjacent property presents an opportunity that will be integral to the University's long-term strategic planning," said Saint Joseph's President C. Kevin Gillespie. "As we look to the future, this opens exciting possibilities for the University community, and it will further enhance our students' experience for decades to come."

News of the sale comes on the eve of Chaput's one-year anniversary as leader of the archdiocese, which reported a $17.5 million operating debt in June.

"Unfortunately the problems facing our local Church remain grave," Chaput wrote in a letter that will be distributed to all 257 parishes this weekend. "At the archdiocesan level, along with continuing legal challenges, we have serious budget deficit and liquidity issues. Many of our parishes continue to struggle financially. Many of those parishes simply can't be sustained."

Contact William Bender at benderw@phillynews.com or 215-854-5255. Follow him on Twitter @wbender99.

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