Buddhists Eye Church Property

February 17, 2005

Author: Douglas Belkin

Source: The Boston Globe


Leaders in Lowell's burgeoning Southeast Asian community are planning to ask the Archdiocese of Boston to sell them the Notre Dame de Lourdes Church on Smith Street for less than half its assessed value so they can convert it into a Buddhist temple.

"We are hoping they will hear the programs we offer and consider us," said Samkhann C. Khoeun, a spokesman for the Glory Buddhist Temple Development project. "It's located in the center of the Cambodian-American community and we could really use the space. We just can't afford it yet."

The church and rectory are assessed at $2.3 million, according to Michael Harkins of Andover, the listing agent for the property. Khoeun said his organization can afford to offer only $1 million but hopes the archdiocese will take into account that the building will remain a house of worship and will consider the future of the community when they select a buyer.