A West Roxbury developer has paid St. John's Seminary $4 million for the former Presentation Church and its rectory and parking lot on Washington Street in Brighton's Oak Square.
Peter Davos, who grew up in Brighton, has yet to say publicly what he plans for the 2.9 acres of land - roughly 1.8 acres for the former church and rectory grounds and 1.1 acres down a half block towards Newton for the parking lot, on a side of the street lined with large single-family homes.
Over the weekend, his West Brighton Acquisitions wrapped the two parcels with green fencing and put a sign in front of the church: "Please pardon our appearance while we work on our concept design and architectural plans."
However, one thing he can't put on the land is an abortion clinic. As a condition of the sale, the seminary attached a covenant to the deeds for the two parcels saying that for the next 99 years, the company.
[S]hall not use or permit the use of the Premises for (a) a church, chapel or other house of religious worship; (b) a facility at which abortions are performed;(c) the operations of professional counseling services which advocate abortion, euthanasia or suicide; (d) the operations of any embryonic stem cell research facility or services implementing embryonic stem cell research or (e) a school or educational facility serving children in grades K-12.
The archdiocese also prohibited a school when it sold the church's shuttered elementary school to a community group in 2007.
Davos is currently building a residential complex in West Roxbury that will include a 70-unit apartment building and 18 townhouses.
Construction of Our Lady of the Presentation parish began in 1913, designed by church architects Maginnis and Walsh and was completed in 1921. The archdiocese shut it in 2004 in the wake of the priest sex-abuse scandal.
In 2011, the archdiocese sold it for $1 to St. John's Seminary, which began work to turn it into a lecture hall and a library, in part with a $200,000 grant from Carolyn and Peter Lynch.
In 2013, the seminary formally dedicated the new St. John's Seminary Our Lady of the Presentation Lecture Hall and Library. At the time, the Boston Pilot reported, St. John's Seminary rector Msgr. James P. Moroney said it was good to be back in Oak Square and that the new building would help the seminary continue to "form" priests "for decades to come."
But the seminary only continued using the buildings for a few more years.
The church tower could use some work: