PATERSON The N.J. Schools Development Authority (NJSDA) has purchased the property located at 764-804 11th Avenue, Paterson, from the Diocese of Paterson for $30 million.
The property is the site of the former Paterson Catholic High School, which due to declining enrollment and spiraling debt, was closed in 2010. At that time, the school’s accumulated debt to the Diocese was in excess of $7 million.
The State was in such need of the facility that it was made clear to the Diocese that the State was prepared to exercise its power of eminent domain if the Diocese had refused to sell the property. The NJSDA purchased the former high school in order to convert the facility into a middle school to alleviate the severe overcrowding conditions in the classrooms of the Paterson Public School District.
“The unexpected situation of this property sale will be an extraordinary way to address future needs of our diocese,” said Bishop Serratelli. “The proceeds from the sale of the property have been placed in special trusts for the long-term needs of the diocese and any emerging needs that may arise.”
With the proceeds, the Diocese established two trusts after the retirement of Paterson Catholic’s debt. The first trust, the “Diocese of Paterson Catholic Education Trust,” will be used to support Catholic education in general, as well as Diocesan Catholic schools in particular. “More students whose families are economically poor will be able to attend Catholic schools and benefit from our schools. The needs in our poorest areas can be addressed at a level that would not have been possible. I am very grateful to the board of the Tri-County Scholarship Fund who will help to administer those funds, which will be dedicated to Catholic school education,” the bishop said.
The second trust, the “Diocese of Paterson Mission Fund, Inc.,” will be used to support the mission of the Diocese and to address critical diocesan needs, including assisting poor parishes and improving infrastructure. “Ministry, evangelization, and worship will all benefit,” said Bishop Serratelli.
“Funds from the recently conducted Partners in Faith capital campaign are addressing a number of needs across the diocese right now through the payment of pledges,” the bishop said. “Those needs will continue to be addressed as pledge payments are received.”
“In our desire to help those who are in need, it is clear that the needs are staggering,” said Msgr. James Mahoney, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia. “This new infusion of funds will help us do even more. The combination of our Partners in Faith campaign and the funds from this property sale will obviously not address all of our needs, but will make a wonderful difference in bringing the message and love of Jesus to so many.”
The closing on the property was held May 14. The NJSDA was represented by Ryan P. Kennedy, Esq. The Diocese was represented by its General Counsel, Kenneth F. Mullaney Jr., Esq.