March 29, 2017

Editorial: New hope for Notre Dame church?

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Sun Staff

Notre Dame des Canadiens church is on its way out. Is a new baseball stadium on its way in; and what does that say about city officials' priorities.

5 Salem Square, 24,000-square-foot fixer-upper needs TLC. Great location in the heart of $200 million+ in development in downtown Worcester. Community gratitude, historic tax credits and 22,000 square feet in additions possible. Serious offers only. Soon, please.

As the remaining days pass before the owners of Notre Dame des Canadiens Church can legally demolish the iconic 1929 structure at Salem Square, there is renewed but quiet optimism that it can be saved from the forces of “progress.”

Last Friday afternoon, Preservation Worcester released a 13-page development package, schematics and prospective rehabilitation budget for the church. That was quickly followed by news that City Square II Development Co. LLC, which is controlled by The Hanover Insurance Group, has entered into an agreement to sell the church to a buyer it did not identify.

Concurrently with the development package, Preservation Worcester petitioned City Council to accept a non-binding resolution urging “all parties controlling the future of Notre Dame des Canadiens Church to delay its demolition for a reasonable additional period of time to allow for potential developers to pursue its development.”

The resolution was adopted at last night’s meeting by an overwhelmingly supportive City Council.

According to executive director Deborah Packard, Preservation Worcester is in contact with two prospective developers. One toured the church last week and another was scheduled to visit the site today, she told the Sun March 27.

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