Share, , , Google Plus, Reddit, Pinterest, StumbleUpon

Print

Posted in:

St. Francis De Sales Hits the Market for $75,000

You read that right, this amazing limestone church designed by one of the same architects of City Hall, is being offered for $75,000. That’s a significant drop in the asking price of $450,000 three years ago. The price does reflect the work the building needs, but the rehabilitation costs can be largely offset by the historic tax credits available to the building as of right. It is located in the Hamlin Park Historic District and is ready to be brought into the program! More photos of the church and interior can be seen here.

26500527311_d24c87dd90_k

St. Francis De Sales was dedicated in 1928 and was the third version the congregation had built on that site. Typical of most churches in early 20th century Buffalo, the parishioners continued to outgrow their space so the need for a new larger church came twice before the existing church. George Dietel, the architect of Buffalo City Hall, designed it with input from Murphy & Olmsted architects in Washington, D.C. The previous iteration was a combined church and school, which is currently the parking lot. It was shuttered by the Diocese of Buffalo in 1993 and has gone through a handful of different congregations since.

26293753330_451dbd9871_k

The building is clad entirely in limestone with a vibrant ceramic tile roof and tall campanile that is visible from miles around. Much of the stained glass has been removed over the years, but the striking rose window on the front remains completely intact. The interior is rich with ornamentation and detailing, but the real stunner is the large dome where the transept and nave meet. An oculi at the center of the dome pulls in natural light and at the right time of day creates a great beam of light.

26566498815_f883cd8513_k

As avid Buffalo Rising readers are already aware, reusing churches with historic tax credits is incredibly difficult since the interior of the sanctuary cannot be substantially subdivided. It’s all about maintaining volume of the space, which instantly kills any hope of a residential conversion if tax credits are in the mix. Until the Department of the Interior changes their Standards on how these historic spaces may be addressed, that is what we’re stuck working with for now. There may be an opportunity to insert apartments in the secondary meeting space below the main sanctuary as it has ample ceilings, great light from the clerestory windows, and an open floor plan.

A fantastic project in San Francisco has really pushed the envelope for reusing a large church, very similar to this one AND while using historic tax credits (someone please steal this idea for St. Francis). Check out the full article from Curbed SF for the details of the project, but in the mean time enjoy the renderings below for what could be duplicated here in Buffalo. Forum Design is heading the plans for the rehab of St. Joseph’s Church.

Forum Design for St. Joseph's Church in SF
Forum Design for St. Joseph’s Church in SF

 

Forum Design for St. Joseph's Church in SF
Forum Design for St. Joseph’s Church in SF

Written by Mike Puma

Mike Puma

Writing for Buffalo Rising since 2009 covering development news, historic preservation, and Buffalo history. Works professionally in historic preservation.

View All Articles by Mike Puma
Hide Comments
Show Comments
  • Ra Cha Cha

    That’s not a current picture of the interior, right? Unless they set all that up for show. I’ve heard that the building hasn’t actually been used for a church service in years, but that the owner staged a photo making it look like it was being so used to keep the building exempt from property taxes.

  • East Auroran

    Just a minor quibble, it’s always nice to have a street address with the story.

    • Mr. B

      407 Northland Ave. at Humboldt Pkwy.

      .

      • East Auroran

        Yes, I checked it out. Too bad it’s not closer to Canisius, could be a great addition to campus as some kind of all-purpose building.

        • Gggbuff

          Agreed that its not close enough to be absorbed into the campus. But I think it is close enough to make it worth a developers time to give it some new life. I love the look of the SF project referenced in the article.

          • greenca

            The SF project is in the middle of a commercial area. The location and the economy of the Bay area made that project feasible. St Francis is in a residential area, and quite frankly, not a part of town that will attract the dollars needed for a conversion like the SF one.

            Even for 75,000, it’ll be a tough nut to crack. Residential isn’t easy for former churches as the author points out. Commercial doesn’t appear to be economically feasible either. That leaves it for continued use as a church (downside is the building is enormous and expensive to maintain), or as a arts campus (which unfortunately isn’t likely). It’s a shame since it is a beautiful building,

          • Gggbuff

            My comment was really geared toward the design and not the economic feasibility. I have no illusions about the economic realities of that area.

  • Bringing back Buffalo

    “below for what could be duplicated here in Buffalo. Forum Design is heading the plans for the rehab of St. Joseph’s Church.”

    Lolololololz

    • greenca

      The San Fran link was cool, but that building is two blocks from the Twitter HQ building. Totally different market and not a realistic comparison. .

  • Ra Cha Cha

    Repeating my question:

    That’s not a current picture of the interior, right? Unless they set all that up for show. I’ve heard that the building hasn’t actually been used for a church service in years, but that the owner staged a photo making it look like it was being so used to keep the building exempt from property taxes.

    We want answers, Puma! ANSWERS! *pounds table*