NORWELL – The city’s Board of Selectmen has reached an agreement with the Archdiocese of Boston to purchase the site of St. Helen’s Church for $9 million.
The Board of Selectmen this week authorized Chairman Bruce Graham to sign the purchase and sale agreement between the Archdiocese of Boston and the City of Norwell. But the purchase ultimately requires a two-thirds vote from Town Meeting.
City Manager Peter Morin said the city will hold a special town meeting on Jan. 9, 2023, to consider the purchase.
The Archdiocese of Boston plans to sell St. Helen’s in Norwell and St. Thecla in Pembroke to build a new church on the site of St. Mary’s in Hanover.
A house, a playground, a footpath? Here is a recent report about Norwell St. Helen’s Church
Graham said the city has made an offer to buy the site for $250,000 from the highest bidder. He said the archdiocese received funds, mostly from out-of-state developers seeking to build affordable housing.
The highest offer came in at $8.8 million, making the city’s offer $9.05 million.
“Surprisingly, the number was higher than expected when we were budgeting $3 to $4 million mentally and financially,” Graham said. “It’s a big number, and the good news is that there’s a very straightforward way to finance the purchase of this land if we decide to do it.”
In July, several neighbors went before the select board to discuss proposals for the St. Helens property, two lots totaling more than 10 acres, according to assessors’ reports.
Saint Helen:Boston archdiocese to close two South Shore churches to replace Hanover.
Neighbors said they want the city to use it for recreation, affordable housing and a commercial component that fits the neighborhood.
Graham said officials and residents will continue to meet to develop a land use plan so residents have some details on what the purchase will mean for the city. Officials will also hold informational meetings about the proposal.
“It should be clear enough for people to understand,” he said. “It’s not going to be a golf course, and it’s not going to just sit there, and it’s not going to be a skyscraper.”