The stone mansion, on 8.9 acres, has served as the home of the archbishops of Philadelphia since 1935, when the church bought it for Cardinal Dennis Dougherty for $115,000.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who assumed leadership of the archdiocese one year ago, put the 16-room residence on the market in January. In June, he reported that the archdiocese faced a $17.5 million operating debt.
Sources said Chaput, a Franciscan Capuchin friar, was not comfortable living in a baronial-style mansion as he was preparing his flock for school and parish closings to trim the deficit. He has also put the retired priests’ summer home in Ventnor, N.J., up for sale, with an estimated value of $6 million.
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Reading Parking Authority Board agreed Wednesday to sell the parking garage at The Abraham Lincoln hotel to Alan Shuman Development Group, Reading, for $1.05 million.
Authority Executive Director Lawrence H. Lee said the board wanted to sell the garage at North Fifth and Washington streets to whoever was purchasing the hotel, for which the development group has an agreement of sale.
The Philadelphia Inquirer-Daily News Building in Philadelphia, PA. Taken from North Broad and Callowhill Streets. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Editor’s note: If you have followed the sale of the Philadelphia newspapers, this article gives some perspective on what that might mean for Philadelphia from an out-of-town perspective.
Is there anything more forlorn than the American metropolitan newspaper? First readers began deserting in droves, then the advertisers followed. Family owners headed for the exits and then hedge funds and other financial players scooped up newspapers thinking they were buying at the bottom of the market. Greater fools came and went, each saying they could cut their way to former glory and renewed profitability. They got a haircut instead.
Many smaller community newspapers remain stable and newspapers with a large national footprint have generally done better. But quite a few of the midsize regional and metropolitan dailies that form the core of the industry have gone off a cliff: over all, the newspaper industry is half as big as it was seven years ago.
So if most newspapers are an uneconomical proposition incapable of sustaining profits, let alone pay off the debt so many buyers have larded on them, who is left to own them?
After Robert H. Schuller retired in 2006, his son (Robert A.) tried to follow in his famous father’s footsteps as Senior Pastor. However, in 2008 Robert A. Schuller was removed as Senior Pastor by his father. Robert H. then made his daughter Sheila Interim Senior Pastor in 2009. Sheila became the permanent Senior Pastor in 2010. Three months after her elevation to permanent Senior Pastor the church filed for bankruptcy. During this transition period the church lost thousands of members and millions of dollars in revenue, causing layoffs, salary cuts and finally bankruptcy.
Chapman University had offered to buy the 40-acre complex and allow the congregants to continue worshipping in the cathedral. However, selling to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange will guarantee that the Crystal Cathedral will continue to be used as a house of worship. The diocese has plans to make the Crystal Cathedral the center for the Catholic community in Orange County.
In three years, the congregation at the Crystal Cathedral will need to move. There are some who fear the move will be too much for the remaining congregation. There is also concern that the Hour of Power television program viewers might disappear if the show is no longer broadcast from the Crystal Cathedral. 70% of the revenue for the Crystal Cathedral comes from Hour of Power viewers.
At one time, the Crystal Cathedral had 10,000 local members. Coincidentally, there are 10,000 panes of glass that make up the famous church, which was dedicated in 1980.
A new player has entered the “who wants the Harrisburg incinerator” sweepstakes while the Lancaster County Solid Waste Authority ups their ante.
New York investor Jacob Frydman has offered a deal that includes leasing the incinerator and the city’s parking system. Frydman and company are mainly interested in the parking system. They are offering a deal that would net Harrisburg $240 million. Of course this means parking rates and trash rates will instantly increase as somebody has to shoulder the debt and the investor needs to show a profit.
The Lancaster County Solid Waste Authority has upped their offer to $124 million and would increase tipping fees for county residents while reducing fees for city residents, who pay much more. The goal would be to have city and county residents paying the same for trash service in twenty years. Lancaster has no interest in the parking system.
The Act 47 team will also have a plan for the incinerator debt as well. They may suggest an entirely different scenario than either of these two proposals.
Northampton County is debating the privatization of Gracedale. Gracedale is the county’s nursing home with 650 residents.
This would be a big deal as Gracedale is Pennsylvania’s second-largest nursing home. There are 750 employees. The reason for this consideration is the drain on the county budget. $7.8 million to be exact. Northampton County is looking at a $10 million budget deficit and possible 20% tax hike. Ouch!
Gracedale has more beds than demand. 725 beds, 650 residents. Employee benefits are also gobbling up the profits. Can you say pension plan nightmare!
At this time, leasing the facility seems to be the preferred course of action. However, patient care would have to be guaranteed. By leasing Gracedale, the county would be off the hook for the $7.8 million while receiving $2.5 million in annual revenue from whatever company would lease the facility. $10 million deficit eliminated. Selling Gracedale would generate $31 million for the county.
There seems to be a growing trend of Pennsylvania counties selling their nursing homes. Carbon, Dauphin, Luzerne, Lancaster and Cambria counties have all unloaded their county nursing homes.
Lehigh County has no plans to sell their nursing home but they are seeking ways to contain costs.