The church, built in the 1950s, is not considered historical and has been desanctified by the Catholic church, Gillis said. There were initial plans to turn it into housing.
“They had looked into it,” Gillis said, “but to redevelop the church as it sits on the property now and the dimensions of the building made it difficult to convert it into residential units.”
Paul Grenier, 75, of Ipswich, remembers going to church services on the La Salette property with his mother growing up, mostly in the summer. He said it was a “mix of nostalgia and sadness” when he recently saw the church stripped and ready to be torn down.
He said the services held there were always peaceful.
“It was a pleasant experience,” he said. “They would have the rosary outdoors and a procession would take place around the property and end in the church for a benediction.”
Gillis said the garden parcel is located in a prime spot on the property.
“It is right next to the mansion with views of the east and west ponds,” he said.
The company is also proposing to finishing the other two residential sections of the property, known as The Hill and The Village. Windover Construction has been hired to help develop the master plan for the property.
Right now, there are 14 duplex units and 14 single-family homes on the hill. Developers are proposing to build 16 more single-family homes there, Gillis said.
He said original plans for the village area called for 51 townhouse units in a very dense area. The new proposed plans, which will be presented to the Planning Board some time in March, call for 19 smaller single-family homes. There are currently 18 townhouses there now, Gillis said.
All single-family homes and units are considered part of the condominium association, which includes several amenities depending on what a homeowner is looking for. There are tennis courts, paddle courts, a bowling alley, swimming pool and fitness center — and, of course, golf.
There are also two restaurants on the property.
“It is going to be a lifestyle you buy into,” Gillis said. “It is a very welcoming community.”
Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.