By Seth Daniel
An local attorney for the Church of Scientology told the Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association (WSANA) that talks are still ongoing to sell the Hotel Alexandra and that a sale could come within a month’s time – with the proceeds from such sale being needed to finance renovations to a new Church headquarters in Allston.
Attorney David Suny, of McCormack Suny Law Firm, said that talks with potential buyers have not fallen through, despite word on the street that the deal was off because the Church wanted too much money.
“Shortly after retaining us (for the process at the Allston building), they asked us to help them with the eventual sale of the Hotel Alexandra,” said Suny. “I can say that negotiations are continuing and nothing has fallen through. That was the word on the street, but we are continuing talks with (the bidders)…The Church has a broker in Los Angeles that is handling that and we will do the purchase and sale when they are ready. They’ve said that by the next meeting of (WSANA) next month, we should have a meaningful update and they should be moving forward with the sale.”
Many in WSANA have been outraged – as has the entire South End – about the news that the deal had fallen through last month. Most have understood that there were three bidders on the old dilapidated building on Washington Street, and talks between them have been ongoing.
City officials and the South End Forum announced in April that the process seemed to have fallen through because the Church was asking for too much money over the assessed value. However, with the process of getting the Allston headquarters reviewed and approved by the City, perhaps the Hotel sale negotiations were revived recently.
Suny said there were likely not any new bidders, and everyone was negotiating.
“I don’t think it’s somebody completely new,” he said. “My sense is negotiations are ongoing and coming to a head.”
WSANA members wanted to know why the process has seemingly taken about nine months and dragged on despite having multiple interested parties.
“I think there were a number of interested parties,” he said. “It’s not lie one person has been in there for nine months…When multiple parties are involved, I think it’s about bidding and counter-bidding.”
Meanwhile, Suny reassured WSANA folks that the Church had not intention to sit on the building, but rather that it needed the proceeds from a sale to fund its new headquarters in Allston – a 100,000 sq. ft. building that it has already purchased.
“That building is purchased, but they need the funds (from the Hotel Alexandra sale) to fund some substantial renovations that need to be made in Allston,” he said. “They’re not sitting on it as a real estate investment plan.”
The mood amongst WSANA members after the update was quite upbeat, with many cheering the news that a long-awaited sale could come as soon as June.