MANCHESTER, NH – The Diocese of Manchester is the new owner of the building that once housed Blessed Sacrament School, nearly 50 years after closing the school and 40 after selling the property.
The diocese closed on 4 Elm St. for $950,000 from Elm and Baker LLC and Back2life Homes LLC on May 17. It was the winning bidder in an April 4 foreclosure auction on the building. The building was slated to be renovated as apartments before the foreclosure.
The diocese is “working with Blessed Sacrament Parish to determine the future use for the building consistent with the charitable tradition of the parish,” Tara Bishop, diocese communications director, told Manchester Ink Link.
Developer Robynne Alexander, as Four on Elm LLC, had planned to renovate the 16,078 three-story building as 27 studio apartments after buying it for $599,000 in December 2019. In January 2022, Elm and Baker LLC took over ownership, without buying the building.
The Four on Elm project was scrapped when the property was foreclosed on in December. The auction was originally scheduled for January, but was postponed until April, with the diocese as the top bidder.
The building’s assessed value is $991,100, and most recent taxes were $18,078. It will come off the tax rolls unless the diocese uses it for a commercial venture. The zoning is R-3, urban multi-family, and the building is on just more than half an acre.
The building was constructed in 1950 as the school for Blessed Sacrament Parish and run by the Sisters of Mercy. It had a short life as a school, closing in 1975. It was largely vacant after that, and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Manchester, a corporation sole, originally sold the building in December of 1984 to Honeycomb, Inc. The American Canadian Genealogical Society bought the property in December 1993 for $42,300.
The society listed the school for sale in 2017 for $599,000, and moved to 1 Sundial Ave. in 2020, after Four on Elm LLC bought it for list price in December 2019.
That purchase was shortly before the pandemic hit, and at the time of the auction in April, high construction costs and a tight labor market were still stalling the project, spokesman Scott Tranchemontagne said. He said developers had put together new financing, and Alexander was working on catching up with payments when mortgage holder Back2Life Homes LLC foreclosed.
Alexander is also a principal of the development team for the former Laconia State School property, in Laconia. The Executive Council approved its $21.5 million sale in December, though some councilors said they had reservations about her financial woes in Manchester.
Original plans for the 220-acre Laconia site were to build 340 single-family duplexes or triplexes, 108 condominiums, 350 townhouses and 500 apartments. Some 120 of the units will be designated as workforce housing.
Tranchemontagne told the Concord Monitor in April that the plans may change slightly, but not significantly. He told the Monitor and other media that the Four on Elm foreclosure “is a completely separate and unrelated project,” and the foreclosure and sale will have no impact on the Laconia plans.