Archdiocese to auction off eight sites July 24

Posted: June 29, 2013

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has hired an auctioneer to sell eight properties July 24 as part of the church's effort to reduce its financial deficit, Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co. said Thursday.

On the block in this latest round of real estate sales in the archdiocese are two former schools and three former convents in Philadelphia, as well as three parcels of land in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, Max Spann said.

All but two large pieces of empty land are owned by parishes, which will keep the proceeds.

"We recognized some time ago that with parish and school closures, owning this excess inventory was not sustainable," Thomas Croke, the archdiocese's director of real estate services, said in a news release.

"Rather than selling the buildings the old-fashioned way - one at a time - we want to get these properties sold," he said.

The archdiocese last year sold the former cardinal's residence on City Avenue for $10 million to St. Joseph's University and the former St. Joseph's Villa by the Sea in Ventnor, N.J., for $4.1 million in an auction by Spann.

The large parcels to be auctioned were bought for possible use as new parishes, a prospect that is now unlikely.

The largest covers 47 acres along Wismer Road in Plumstead Township. It is zoned residential, according to, a commercial real estate information service. In Lower Salford Township, the church is selling a 29.5-acre parcel that is zoned commercial.

The Philadelphia buildings that will be auctioned at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown are:

All Saints School and All Saints Convent in the 4600 block of East Thompson Street.

St. Bartholomew Convent in the 5500 block of Harbison Avenue.

St. Michael Business School in the 1500 block of North Second Street.

Our Lady of Hope Convent in the 3500 block of North 19th Street.

Also for sale is a one-acre residential building lot in Rydal that belongs to St. Hilary Parish. In this case and in others involving parish property, the proceeds from the sales will go to the parish.

Separately, the archdiocese is trying to sell the Holy Family Center next to the archdiocese's headquarters and the adjacent parking lot, as well as the Mary Immaculate Center in Northampton, a 452-acre former Vincentian seminary bought for $4 million in 1996.

Contact Harold Brubaker

at 215-854-4651


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