With the closing of St. Stanislaus Polish Catholic Church last year, developer Broadway Capital has now advanced a plan to re-use the church as a residential complex offering home-ownership and rental opportunities.
Mike Vienneau, of Broadway Capital, said they will be bringing their project to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) next Tuesday and it will represent one of several projects they have just finished or have in the pipeline.
The proposed project – to be known as “The Cathedral” – includes the conversion of a church to 16-unit residential units and the razing of the older rectory structure to construct a 14-unit multi-family building. The ground level of that building will also include a total of 45 off-street parking spots: 1.5 parking spots per residential unit. In total the proposed project will create 30 new residential units in the downtown area. The project will consist of 16 owner-occupied and 14 rental units. There will also be a shared open space terrace/ park area above the parking garage between the two building structures.
“We plan to keep the outside of the church intact and spruce it up with new windows and lighting,” said Vienneau. “They had to take all of the stained glass out with the church closing, so we’ll have new windows there, and it’s going to be a nice project…There’s a lot going on now and we’re excited because we have home-ownership opportunities. Most people aren’t doing home-ownership. The City needs and wants owner-occupied units more than rentals.”
The project is in the R2 district, and is officially at 157-163 Chestnut St. If approved, Vienneau said they could start in October, and be completed by March 2023.
While some had questioned what the real estate market might look like on the tail end of COVID-19 in a City like Chelsea that was hit so hard, many developers and real estate professionals are seeing Chelsea as a place with high demand.
Vienneau completely agreed, saying their experience developing the old nursing home at 932 Broadway showed that people want ownership opportunities in Chelsea at an affordable price.
“Absolutely the demand is there,” he said. “We got 932 Broadway sold out pretty much by April. We started selling in January and had it mostly sold out by April, so really only in three months. There is a huge, huge demand for these owner-occupied units, especially the $300,000 to $400,000 range, but even those in the $500,000 to $600,000 went fast because they were the first ones we sold. After they were sold, people were even coming in and putting in back-up offers on them in case it fell through.”
He said the demographic that is buying there is 25-35 year olds without children. He said he hoped to attract more Chelsea residents to the St. Stans property in the downtown.
Right now, Broadway Capital is doing site work on the old Reggie’s Auto property at 25 Second St. They plan to finish construction on that product and have it to the market by Spring 2022.
Vienneau said there are further deals in the works for Chelsea, but nothing he could disclose beyond the proposed re-use project at St. Stans Church campus.