The Albany Roman Catholic Diocese is having some success selling properties rendered surplus through the Called to Be Church process.
The diocese will close 33 churches in its 14 counties. The initiative was aimed at addressing a growing priest shortage and the migration of parishioners from cities to suburbs.
At least one church has been sold — St. Rita’s in Cohoes, to the Heritage Baptist Church — and the diocese has contracts to sell eight more properties, according to Ken Goldfarb, spokesman for the Albany Diocese. Two of the eight contracts were not properties closed during the Called to Be Church process, however, Goldfarb said.
“Despite what everyone recognizes as a rather difficult real estate market, we’ve done fairly well in being able to at least reach a contract on several of these properties,” Goldfarb said.
Goldfarb would not identify the parties the diocese is under contract with, but said the properties would be going to buyers who would “provide adequate uses for the properties.”
The Daily Gazette has reported that the Schenectady Light Opera Company is interested in purchasing St. John the Baptist in Schenectady, which Goldfarb said was one of the properties that the diocese has a contract on.
St. Bernard’s and St. Joseph’s in Cohoes; St. Francis de Sales in Troy; St. Mary’s Mission Church in Schenevus, Otsego County; and Our Lady of Good Counsel Mission Church in Roxbury, Delaware County, are churches closed through Called to Be Church on which the diocese has contracts with prospective buyers.
The Holy Cross rectory in Schenectady and St. Teresa’s Mission Church in Brant Lake, Warren County, are also in contract but were closed earlier.
The diocese has a department that helps market and sell property and in some cases, Goldfarb said, the diocese works with local real estate agents.
“It’s very encouraging that we’ve had this kind of success this early in the process,” Goldfarb said.
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