Boston archdiocese buys building for $100

Dennis Tatz

Billionaire developer Thomas Flatley’s sale of a four-story office building off West Street to the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston will result in property assessed at $14.3 million being removed from the town’s tax rolls.

Flatley sold the building to the archdiocese for ‘‘less than $100’’ in November, according to records in the town assessor’s office.

The 140,000-square-foot building had a tax bill of $274,993 this fiscal year.

Sale of the building to the archdiocese makes the property tax-exempt.

If Flatley had leased the property to the archdiocese, it would have remained taxable.

‘‘Obviously, this is an economic hit,’’ Mayor Joseph Sullivan said Wednesday.

Sullivan, however, was optimistic that the town would receive some benefits.

He said archdiocesan chancellor James McDonough has told him that Braintree residents will be given priority for future jobs at the headquarters.

‘‘We will make this work for our town and the archdiocese,’’ the mayor said. ‘‘There are benefits that go beyond the monetary loss.’’

Sullivan said the town still has a solid tax base with a large mix of office and commercial properties.

Archdiocesan spokesman Terrence Donilon said Wednesday, ‘‘We look forward to working with the mayor.’’

Donilon said the move to Braintree says a lot about what the town has to offer workers who will shop at local stores and eat at nearby restaurants.

The archdiocese announced last year that it was selling its Brighton headquarters to Boston College for $65 million and headed to Braintree.

Initially, Flatley said he intended to lease his building at 66 Brooks Drive to the archdiocese at a discount rate.

Flatley could not be reached for comment Wednesday on his decision to sell the property instead of leasing it.

The Irish-born developer has been an important benefactor to the Catholic church in the past and has served on the archdiocese’s financial council.

‘‘Tom Flatley loves Christ and he loves the Church,’’ Cardinal Sean O’Malley said in a statement. ‘‘He made it possible for us to select the new location for our pastoral center and we are grateful to him as we make plans to move in the months ahead.

‘‘We pray that Tom Flatley's many contributions of time and resources resonate across the Archdiocese and inspire others to join in helping our Church meet the many and diverse pastoral needs of our Catholic community,’’ Cardinal O’Malley wrote.

Sometime this summer 250 to 300 archdiocesan workers will be moving to Braintree.

The archdiocesan headquarters is replacing Boston Financial Data Services, which moved to Canton.

The building, which is being renovated, will include all departments now housed at the archdiocese’s Brighton campus as well as other agencies serving the region’s 2.1 million Catholics.

The consolidation is expected to help out the financially strapped archdiocese.

The recent clergy sex abuse scandal cost the archdiocese about $90 million in a settlement with more than 550 abuse victims.

The archdiocese decided later to close or consolidate 64 parishes in addition to selling other real estate holdings.

Cardinal O’Malley lives in the rectory at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston’s South End.

Dennis Tatz may be reached at

The Patriot Ledger