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Diocese could fetch millions for sale of bishop's mansion, priest residence

Plans by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo to raise money for victims of sexual abuse by selling Bishop Richard J. Malone's former mansion and another property are coming to fruition quickly, as both properties now have buyers.

Diocesan spokeswoman Kathy Spangler confirmed Thursday that the bishop's residence at 77 Oakland Place is under contract to be sold. She would not divulge the buyer, price or any other information about the sale, which was handled outside the traditional multiple listing service used by real estate agents. But a local real estate source said the buyer is local, not from out of town.

Additionally, the diocese's Sheehan Residence – a home for retired priests at 330 Linwood Ave. – has also been under contract since late October, according to local real estate agents, citing the MLS. That property was marketed by Timothy Hourihan of Howard Hanna Commercial Real Estate, who referred questions to the diocese.

Together, the two could fetch $2.5 million to $3 million for the diocese, which has faced a barrage of criticism, scrutiny and even protests amid a flurry of revelations – first reported by The Buffalo News – of much deeper abuse by priests than previously disclosed, dating back decades, and of diocesan efforts to protect the priests by relocating them rather than removing them. There have even been calls by Buffalo civic and political leaders for Malone to resign, which he has rebuffed.

The diocese announced in April that it would sell the two properties, with proceeds going to the Independent Reconciliation & Compensation Fund that Malone set up a month earlier to benefit victims of past sexual abuse by priests. The diocese has previously said it expects to pay at least $11 million in compensation.

Buffalo bishop to sell mansion to compensate clergy sex abuse victims

The bishop's mansion is assessed at $1.3 million with a full market value estimate of $1.91 million. The Tudor manor house, designed by architect E.B. Green, has nine bedrooms and six bathrooms in 11,050 square feet of space. It features four massive stone chimneys, a slate roof and a separate apartment above the five-car garage.

The Oakland Place residence has been home to bishops since 1952, when the diocese bought it for $50,000. Built in 1900, the stone house occupies one acre, and has 2½ floors.

Malone moved out in November, relocating to the former St. Stanislaus Parish convent house on Buffalo's East Side.

The Sheehan Residence for retired priests is a three-story brick building at Linwood and West Utica Street that was built in 1928 as the rectory for what was then St. Joseph Cathedral on Delaware Avenue. The “New Cathedral,” as it was known, was demolished in the 1970s and the former rectory has been used ever since as a residence for retired priests. It is a 17,376-square-foot building with 10-foot ceilings, a full basement and a detached garage. The building features 12 suite-style units.

It's assessed at $490,000, but is fully valued at $720,588.

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