Owners hope convent will serve

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JAY – The owners of an old convent said they hope it can be used in a way that will serve local communities.

The Follieri Group L.L.C., based in New York City, bought the former convent, but wants to ensure the property continues to be used in a socially responsible fashion consistent with the ideals of the Catholic Church, Brian Thompson, a representative for Follieri, said.

The church hasn’t owned the convent for sometime, possibly more than a decade, but it did serve at one point as a boarding house.

The Follieri Group buys properties that are or were once owned by the Catholic Church to ensure the properties are converted to uses consistent with church ideals, Thompson said.

The group has owned the old convent for nearly two weeks and is looking for uses for it, Thompson said.

During a special town meeting Monday, he offered the building to the town for $161,000 or $1,000 more than what the group paid for it. He suggested the town buy it and renovate it for use as a town office. The group would install an elevator to make the building handicap accessible, he said. But residents instead approved buying a former restaurant on Route 4, which will be rehabilitated and converted for use as the town office.

Thompson said he had spoken with business people and community members in an effort to see what is needed in the area.

Another need he heard about, Thompson said, was an outreach program for senior citizens and the aging.

The Follieri Group, founded in 2003, is a real estate investment and development organization formed to assist the Catholic Church by purchasing, as principals, the church’s properties and then renovating them for uses such as low and middle income housing, community centers, day care facilities, senior citizen housing, places of worship, offices and retail spaces, according to the group’s Web site www.thefollierigroup.com.

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