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OAKLAND, CA-The Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland has sold the Cathedral of St. Francis de Sales site in Downtown Oakland to EAH Housing, according to the brokers in the deal, Bill Karr, Robert Ligon and Frank Arthur, all with TRI Commercial/Corfac International. TRI declined to confirm the sale price for the 1.7-acre site; local industry sources pegged the price at just over $5 million.

The Cathedral of St. Francis de Sales, built in 1891, was damaged beyond repair in the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 and subsequently demolished. EAH Housing plans to build a 100-home affordable community called Cathedral Gardens that incorporates the only remaining building on the site, the Rectory, built in 1919.

EAH is being assisted financially in the endeavor by the Oakland Housing Authority. EAH Housing is receiving $3.2 million from the City of Oakland to bridge the development gap funding.

Established in 1968, EAH Housing has developed 74 properties and manages 8,000 units serving seniors, families, students, people with disabilities and the formerly homeless in 42 municipalities in California and Hawaii.

Cathedral Gardens will have a community room equipped with computers, free Wi-Fi internet access and an open landscaped court. Photovoltaic solar panels will provide electricity for common areas and units.

The Diocese says it is satisfied with the transaction because the property will continue to serve the community. EAH Housing president and CEO Mary Murtagh says the project will further revitalization of Downtown Oakland’s Uptown area.

The Diocese also owns a 60,000-square-foot property in Oakland known as the St. Mary’s site. Bounded by MLK and Jefferson and 7th and 8th streets, the full block site covers 60,000 square feet. TRI’s Arthur was not immediately available Tuesday afternoon to comment on efforts to sell that site.

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