Photo | Lagniappe
Cathedral Place, located on Conti Street in downtown Mobile, has sold to a Tennessee-based development company.
The Archdiocese of Mobile has sold a downtown residential complex to a Tennessee-based developer, but there are no plans in place to make changes to the facility.
The sale of Cathedral Place, a low-income housing complex for seniors, was finalized Thursday, April 25, the Archdiocese confirmed in an email. The buyer is an affiliate of the Memphis, Tennessee-based Alco Properties, but the sale price was not immediately known. Alco is the manager of a number of affordable housing properties, including one in Birmingham.
“This is our first property in Mobile,” Alco Acquisition and Development Analyst Thomas Robinson said.
Alco will continue to manage the property across Conti Street from the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception as a low-income senior residential community, Robinson said. While Alco typically spruces up properties it controls, there are no immediate plans to renovate the roughly 40-year-old facility, he said.
“We’re really enamored with it,” Robinson said of the building. “It’s very well managed … and in a beautiful location.
“I’ve seen a lot of properties,” he added. “This is just a jewel and it’s 100-percent occupied.”
Many details of the sale, including price, were not immediately known. The Most Rev. Thomas Rodi, archbishop of Mobile, did not directly answer questions about the sale in an email message. Instead Rodi had Catholic Week Editor and de-facto archdiocese spokesman Rob Herbst send a copy of the publication’s story on the sale via email. The short story included a question and answer portion, which went into further detail.
The building was sold, Herbst wrote, because it “no longer met the spiritual mission of which is was founded on.”
Despite its religious affiliation, Cathedral Place followed guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in regard to low-income housing. Alco will continue that, Robinson said. Elderly residents of the facility will be charged 30 percent of their income in rent, he said.
Applicants at Cathedral Place must be at least 62 years old, or disabled, and meet minimum requirements for independent living, Herbst wrote. Currently, there are 186 residents and about 27 of them are Catholic.
While a sale price was not immediately known, Herbst wrote the proceeds of the sale will help to pay off debt on the apartments. The remainder will be used to improve Camp Cullen in Baldwin County, as a youth “retreat center.”
Cathedral Place was erected in 1975 at the behest of Bishop John L. May, who sought an apartment complex for elderly residents with limited income, Herbst wrote. Catholic Housing LLC was formed and used $4 million in HUD funding for the project. May dedicated the structure on Nov. 21, 1975.
At the beginning, Herbst wrote, the building was staffed by members of the Daughters of Charity, but more recently, the Archdiocese has hired a management firm for the complex.
The sale of Cathedral Place follows the sale of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on Springhill Avenue downtown. The church was officially sold Feb. 4 to 24/7 Development Partners of Alabama for $650,000.
In a previous Catholic Week story, Herbst wrote that the money from the sale of the church will be placed in the capital coffers of the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, which St. Joseph’s parish was merged into when it was closed more than a year ago. Herbst wrote that plans for the now former church are unknown.
Herbst wrote that some of the items from the inside of the former church will be given to St. Ignatius parish and put in a new church. Those items include the altar, pews, stations of the cross, baptistry, statues and other sacred items.
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