Thursday, December 31, 2009

Neighbors oppose church’s ‘gift from God’

From Boston-

When the roof leaks at St. James’s Episcopal Church, water seeps into the sacristy and soaks the organ case and baptistry.

“It’s baptism by rainfall here,’’ said the Rev. Holly Lyman Antolini, as she pointed out holes in walls, stained-glass windows that have buckled, and a parish hall that will have to be torn down and replaced.

Antolini would like to have repairs done. But St. James’s, a fixture in Porter Square for more than a century, is strapped for cash.

So imagine her delight when Oaktree Development, a Cambridge company that creates urban multifamily housing, came tapping at the church’s door a year ago, offering a financial lifeline.

At the church’s urging, the two formed a partnership and proposed to build a four-story, 78,000-square-foot development on St. James’s historic property at Massachusetts Avenue and Beech Street. If finalized, the church would lease the bulk of its property to the developer for 99 years, and the developer would get plenty of room to erect its proposed L-shaped building around the sanctuary that would include 46 condo units, retail space, an underground parking garage, and a new parish hall on the first floor.

More here-

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