Mill Creek Acquires Blessed Sacrament School Site

John Jordan | February 2020

A rendering of the Modera New Rochelle project

NEW ROCHELLE—Mill Creek Residential of Boca Raton, FL has acquired a little more than two acres of land that housed the former Blessed Sacrament elementary school and will develop a new eight-story 334-unit multifamily project at the site.

The sale of the property was reported by commercial brokerage firm CBRE on Feb. 5, which represented Blessed Sacrament Church in the transaction. No financial terms of the transaction were disclosed.

Mill Creek plans to build the Modera New Rochelle development at the property located at 24 Maple Ave. and 115 Centre Ave. that when completed will feature eight studios, 201 one-bedroom, and 125 two-bedroom units. As part of the land sale, Mill Creek will be delivering a new parish center to the Blessed Sacrament parish, which continues to serve the New Rochelle Catholic community.

The project site will also include three courtyards and a pedestrian walkway on the northwestern side, according to information posted on the City of New Rochelle website. The City of New Rochelle approved the Modera New Rochelle project on May 29, 2019.

CBRE’s William V. Cuddy, Jr. and Jacqueline Novotny represented and advised the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in the transaction. Counsels for the seller in the transaction included Peter N. Bassano, Esq. from Bleakley Platt & Schmidt, LLP and Michael D. Zarin, Esq. from Zarin & Steinmetz.

“Blessed Sacrament Parish recognized the opportunity to convert its unused property to support its ongoing mission,” said Cuddy, Executive Vice President at CBRE. “We are thrilled to have the site trade hands to such a well-regarded player in the multifamily sector known for creating thoughtfully-designed apartment communities in thriving markets throughout the country.”

He continued, “As part of their efforts to enhance the communities where they build, Millcreek Residential has agreed to include a new parish center for the ongoing use of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament as part of their development plans. We are grateful to have worked on such a unique win-win situation”

The Blessed Sacrament elementary school closed in 2007, while the merged Blessed Sacrament/St. Gabriel’s High School was closed in 2013 by the Archdiocese of New York.

The property’s location offers various transportation options nearby, as well as restaurants, fitness centers and entertainment venues. The project site is within walking distance from the New Rochelle train station, offering service from Metro North and Amtrak, and is located one mile from Interstate-95.

Blessed Sacrament Pastor Rev. William Luiciano addressed the sale of the property to parishioners on the church’s website.

While not divulging the sale price, Rev. Luciano stated, “First of all, we are happy to announce that the over $12-million debt that Blessed Sacrament Church has accumulated, over the last 50 years or so, has been totally eliminated.”

He noted that the closure of the elementary and high schools left the parish with accumulated debts of more than $3 million.

“You can see that not only was the Parish not paying the principal on these debts, but was also not paying the interest that was accruing,” Rev. Luciano stated in his “From the Pastor’s Desk blog. “It seemed hopeless that this large debt would ever be addressed. Well, now it has. Not only addressed, but eliminated.”

He added that the proceeds from the sale will also allow the church to put money aside for the future and stated that the parish is now “debt free, financially stable, growing and is able to address the needs of those we serve.”

Elsewhere in the region, Mill Creek Residential Trust acquired the 504-unit The Peaks of Nanuet apartment in Rockland County in a deal reportedly valued at $180 million in late 2019.

The firm purchased the property from a partnership of New York City-based Harbor Group International and Azure Partners.

Mill Creek also developed the 324-unit Modera Hudson Riverfront in Yonkers, which it sold in April 2019, according to its website.

Editor’s Note: The author of this article graduated from Blessed Sacrament High School in 1975.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth