Newton-based WS Development has completed a property swap with the Archdiocese of Boston, selling a newly-completed chapel on Seaport Boulevard and acquiring a Northern Avenue site for a future office building.
The Seaport developer paid just under $18 million for Our Lady of Good Voyage chapel’s longtime property at 65 Northern Ave., where a 500,000-square-foot office building is planned. And the Archdiocese acquired the new chapel at Seaport Boulevard and Sleeper Street from WS for $7 million.
Ground was broken in November 2014 on the new 5,000-square-foot chapel designed by ADD/Stantec with nautical touches including a wooden ceiling resembling a ship’s hull.
The original chapel opened in 1952 to serve sailors and cargo ship workers. The previous Seaport Square master developer, Boston Global Investors, worked with Cardinal Sean O’Malley to identify a new home.
“We think (BGI CEO) John Hynes III deserves tremendous credit for shepherding this process through the years, and ultimately achieving an extraordinary outcome,” said Yanni Tsipis, a vice president at WS Development.
The first Catholic church built in Boston in 60 years, the new chapel’s first public Mass is scheduled for Sunday, according to a spokesperson.
WS acquired the Seaport Boulevard property from BGI in late 2015 as part of a 12.5-acre portfolio of approved building sites.
WS filed plans in February with the Boston Planning and Development Agency to increase the total amount of office development on the 12.5-acre site from 1.2 million to 2.9 million square feet and increase multifamily units from 2,500 to 3,200.
No groundbreaking date has been set but the office building at 65 Northern Ave. would be one of the first elements of the next phase of development, Tsipis said. The office building would contain 69,400 square feet of retail on two levels.
Deed restrictions on the 65 Northern Ave. property prohibit its use as a house of worship, a facility that provides abortions, assisted suicide or stem cell research, and as a school.