Archdiocese of New Orleans sells actual property in chapter | Enterprise Information

Greater than two years after submitting for Chapter 11 chapter safety within the face of mounting lawsuits associated to previous little one sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of New Orleans is starting to boost money by promoting a few of its huge actual property holdings.

Attorneys for the native Roman Catholic Church will ask a choose this week to permit two separate property transfers to maneuver ahead. One is the sale of a former 12-story workplace constructing at 1000 Howard Ave. to a Lafayette-based investor. The opposite is the sale of a parking zone on Loyola Avenue behind the Howard Avenue constructing.

Collectively, the offers would generate almost $10 million for the native church, and observe property gross sales totaling some $1.9 million earlier within the chapter course of.

111322 Archdiocese property sales map

It is unclear how far the hundreds of thousands raised by the property gross sales will go to resolving the 450 abuse claims levied at monks and different clergy who served within the archdiocese. And it is also not recognized what different monetary steps Archbishop Gregory Aymond and his advisers will take to repay what is predicted to be a multimillion-dollar settlement with abuse victims. 

That’s partly as a result of the case remains to be slowly unfolding in U.S. Chapter Courtroom, the place among the proceedings are stored from public view.

When the New Orleans Catholic Church joined two dozen different U.S. archdioceses by submitting for chapter safety in Might 2020, it listed $243 million in belongings and $139 million in liabilities.


Archbishop Gregory Aymond at his workplace on the Archdiocese of New Orleans on Monday, June 24, 2019.

On the time, Aymond stated that the church, which serves 500,000 Catholics throughout 112 parishes, wanted to hunt Chapter 11 safety as a result of mounting prices of abuse settlements and the fallout from the pandemic.

Monetary data have beforehand valued archdiocesan-owned buildings and land at some $70 million. However that estimate is probably going considerably decrease than what the properties would fetch in the marketplace, as a result of it’s based mostly on the costs that the archdiocese paid for the properties. 

It additionally doesn’t embody the worth of actual property owned by particular person church buildings and church-related entities. The church has not publicly listed the estimated market worth of its greater than 200 items of archdiocesan-owned actual property.

The archdiocese declined to touch upon the property gross sales or the chapter proceedings extra typically.

Nonetheless, attorneys concerned within the case see the pending sale of two downtown properties as a step ahead within the chapter case, although not a sign {that a} settlement with survivors is at hand.

“We’re glad they’re doing it and so they have consulted with us, however this doesn’t imply there was a settlement or that we’re shifting in the direction of a settlement,” stated Jim, Stang, an legal professional with Los Angeles-based Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones, which represents the committee for unsecured collectors within the case.

Federal probe

Chapter circumstances sometimes transfer slowly. A case like that of the archdiocese, which is wrapped up in allegations of kid intercourse abuse by the hands of monks, isn’t any exception.

Dozens of attorneys have spent the previous two years arguing over whether or not the case needs to be dismissed as a result of the archdiocese just isn’t bancrupt. They’ve additionally questioned how a lot data needs to be shielded from public view.

There are additionally different problems.

For example, the FBI is investigating allegations that the previous pastor of St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in Treme, who was faraway from his put up in 2021 after being accused of raping a toddler years earlier, could have misappropriated almost $400,000 in parish funds.

The archdiocese confirmed final week it’s cooperating with the FBI in its probe of the matter, which got here to gentle in an audit the church had fought to maintain non-public.

Archdiocese officers stated that the incident just isn’t associated to the bigger monetary points within the chapter and that the alleged monetary improprieties at St. Peter Claver are an remoted incident.

The FBI is also wanting into allegations stretching again a long time that clergy could have taken youngsters to different states to molest them, probably in violation of federal anti-sex trafficking legal guidelines, The Related Press has reported. The church had denied information of that probe.

Surplus property

Amid the federal probes, attorneys within the chapter case are attempting to give you a settlement plan to compensate the a whole lot of intercourse abuse survivors who’ve filed claims in opposition to the church. 

Promoting off property is a method to start liquidating belongings and elevating funds for these settlements. So far, the church has accomplished the sale of only one main parcel, the previous St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Faculty Kenner, which a developer acquired at public sale for almost $1.9 million.

The sale of the Howard Avenue properties is significantly bigger and is a comparatively straightforward means for the church to generate money as a result of it is surplus property, in line with Stang. 

“It’s a constructing they felt they didn’t want anymore and given its situation, upkeep prices and the harm it suffered in hurricanes, it was extra,” Stang stated. “They should increase money and this was one thing that they apparently don’t want any extra.”

The chapter will permit the archdiocese to consolidate all of its historic abuse claims and try to maneuver previous them financially. However the course of itself is pricey, famous Jason Berry, an creator who has written extensively in regards to the Catholic Church, the abuse disaster and church funds.

“The church pays closely to legal professionals, reducing down the funds accessible to survivors, a lot of whom want the cash to rebuild fractured lives,” Berry stated.

New developments

Whereas the pending gross sales could not sign a settlement within the chapter case, the offers are important for what they imply for the potential redevelopment of Howard Avenue.

Lafayette-based Triple or Nothing, LLC, signed a purchase order settlement with the archdiocese earlier this yr for $8.Three million to amass the Howard Avenue midcentury trendy workplace constructing, which incorporates an hooked up parking storage and a parking zone.


The Archdiocese of New Orleans constructing at 1000 Howard Ave. in New Orleans, Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. (Employees Picture by David Grunfeld, | The Instances-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

Courtroom data present the group has agreed to execute the sale by Dec. 30 and {that a} due diligence interval expired Nov. 7, which suggests, with the court docket’s blessing, the sale deal will go ahead.

Triple or Nothing, LLC is registered to Samer Mohd, a Lafayette investor who owns a number of companies in Lafayette and a number of other native funding properties in Mid-Metropolis and close to Tulane Avenue.

Industrial actual property dealer Parker McEnery, whose agency is representing the archdiocese in liquidating its actual property belongings, wouldn’t focus on specifics of Mohd’s plans for the constructing website. However he stated the investor plans to redevelop the location right into a hospitality idea that may be new to the market.

“This is able to be an excellent deal for the Howard Avenue hall,” McEnery stated. “It’s a serious redevelopment mission.”

The opposite deal earlier than the court docket is the sale of a parking zone situated straight behind the Howard Avenue constructing. Native actual property growth agency Mk RED has signed a purchase order settlement to amass the lot for $1.68 million, court docket data present.

Mk RED declined to touch upon the pending sale or the agency’s plans for the property. However the agency’s portfolio consists of a number of multifamily developments in Mid-Metropolis, in addition to redevelopments of older properties and buildings.

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