I’ll start: “if it were a mosque would the city even be considering allowing this?”
According to documents submitted to Worcester’s Planning Board, a public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 2 at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall.
Roseland is currently building 370 market-rate apartment units between Front and Franklin streets in downtown Worcester that will also house five retail tenants. The apartments are expected to open up to residents between January and February 2018.
The Notre Dame Church was spared the wrecking ball for a year after the city’s Historical Commission denied the property owners, CitySquare II Development Co., a demolition delay waiver. That decision for CitySquare II to invest resources into finding alternatives to development that could keep the church standing.
However, that demolition delay waiver expired in April, and CitySquare II ended up selling the historical property to an unknown group.
The city is in a renaissance of development, dining and culture, and historic properties like the Notre Dame Church and the Paris Cinema in downtown have been targeted by developers to make for Worcester’s new future. The demolition of both properties has prompted responses from groups like Preservation Worcester, who seek to protect Worcester’s historic properties.
This October, there’ll be a lot more to do in downtown Worcester thanks to the opening of The Brew Garden and Stix, which will open on the former site of the historic Paris Cinema.
Preservation Worcester has been waging an extensive campaign over the past two years to find alternative uses for the church. In April, the group passed along an offer from an unnamed developer to the CitySquare II, an offer which CitySquare said they’d pass along to the unknown purchaser.
“After more than six years of active effort on our part, in addition to the prior efforts by the Diocese, City Square II has made the realistic and most economically feasible choice to sell the property,” a statement from CitySquare II released in February read.
CitySquare publicly promised to consider reuse options for the 17,250-square-foot church. The building is listed on the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System, but it is not on the state or national registers of historic places.
The church was examined for possible use as a hotel, residential development or performing arts venue, the application says. Three hotel developers rejected Notre Dame for that purpose.