“These 12 condos are a product never sold in Boston before,” said Susan Piracini, the exclusive marketing agent for The Cosmopolitan. “Each unit has one entire floor of amenities.”

Following the trend of folded-up churches reincarnating as condominiums, The Cosmopolitan in the South End will offer unique features seldom found in its forefathers – or in Boston homes in general – when ready for occupancy by Dec. 1.

The high, massive volume of its granite edifice, built in 1858-61 as the Church of the Immaculate Conception, allows its residential renovated 12 triplex townhouse condos ranging from 2,487 to 3,449 in square footage and occupying the fifth, sixth and seventh floors of the rehab.

Each of these units will be blessed with residential rarities, including a penthouse city view terrace notched into the gabled roof, a private screening theater, a professionally equipped private gym with mirror-wall and sauna and an exclusive access-controlled elevator serving all three levels.

“These 12 condos are a product never sold in Boston before,” said Susan Piracini, the exclusive marketing agent for The Cosmopolitan. “Each unit has one entire floor of amenities.”

The lower (fifth) floor of each townhouse will be solely dedicated to health, work and entertainment facilities that are customarily shared by all residents of a complex or remote from them in gyms, spas, workplaces and cinemas.

“Each amenity floor will have a state-of-the-art fitness center with free weights, a Peloton bike, a bench and a flat-screen TV,” said Piracini. “The next room over is a screening theater room with luxurious seating.”

This level will also contain a two-person sauna, a full bath, an island kitchenette with wet bar, a wine refrigerator built into the wall, a library/office and a personal safe for valuables – in short, city life one or two floors down.

Upstairs will be the bedroom levels, most comprising two carpeted bedroom suites with skylights and custom closet organizer systems, except for three suites in the largest unit.

In each primary suite, a dressing room will conveniently connect the bedroom to the bath, which will come complete with a subway-tiled shower, separate soaking tub and twin sinks on a Carrara quartz counter. A closeted, stacked Bosch washer/dryer will serve each unit.

The common areas will occupy the top floors to extend entertainment outside. Each open-concept living-dining-kitchen area will open out further through sliders to the terrace, where breathtaking Boston skyline views will awe guests.

At the opposite end, the living area will access a powder room and the dining space will terminate at an open kitchen arranged in a U-shaped configuration of quartz counters, white laminate cabinetry and stainless Thermador appliances. The appliances include central gas cooking. An inlay ceiling speaker system by Sonos and prewiring for Starry Internet will permeate the unit.

The lobby, serving all 12 condos and 51 rental apartments, features 24-hour white-glove concierge service and accesses a pet-wash station, a residents’ lounge, fitness center, elevator service, bike storage and a landscaped common courtyard.

The lobby will be in the 1960 annex of the abutting building complex where Boston College and Boston College High School were founded in 1863-64.

The church building’s distinctive temple-front entrance with three arched paneled doors (closed off), Palladian window, “To Jesus Through Mary” sign, niched Mary statue and apex-crowning Jesus statue will be preserved as mementoes of the original institution, which has a fascinating history.

The Church of the Immaculate Conception was built and carved in New Hampshire granite from a design by Patrick Keely, architect of numerous churches serving Catholic immigrant populations. These include the nearby Holy Trinity German Church, which became The Lucas condominium in 2016, and the Cathedral of the Holy Cross - the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

The Immaculate Conception Church’s hybrid of Classical, Georgian and Renaissance styles was described as having “cosmopolitan character” by historian Douglass Shand-Tucci in his book Built in Boston. Philosopher George Santayana, who often attended Mass in the church, called it “frankly urban and rectangular, like a hall or temple without columns, and without a tower or belfry” - qualities suiting it for residential reuse.

In 1986, a dismantling of its interior for offices, priest/monk living quarters and a smaller sanctuary sparked controversy among preservationists and art historians, leading to the Boston Landmarks Commission halting the renovation and designating the interior as a landmark. A compromise with the Commission, followed by a 1989 state Supreme Judicial Court invalidation of the designation, yielded the Jesuit Urban Center.

Dwindling Mass attendance, financial shortfalls and prohibitive maintenance costs closed the Center in 2007. The interior’s remaining religious artifacts were decommissioned and donated to the Archdiocese to prepare the way for the residential reincarnation.

“This church is…a splendid example of how the best mid-century American architects translated the Classical tradition into the idiom of their own time,” Shand-Tucci wrote.

Similarly, the development team of Bodwell Pines Corporation of Natick, Nunes Trabucco Architects of Needham and TMD Designs of North Hampton, N.H., are translating its Classical structure into the idiom of a timely level of cosmopolitan urban townhouse living.

“They had neighbors’ support,” said Piracini. “Neighbors said, ‘I hope you get some velocity in selling these, because we’d like to have people living on this corner again.’”

For more information on The Cosmopolitan, contact Susan Piracini of The Piracini Group, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, at 617-712-1339 or thepiracinigroup@gmail.com.

Sources:

- Fitzgerald, T.R., SJ, “Historical Notes: Santayana Visits a Jesuit Church,” Woodstock Letters, Vol. LXXIV, No. 2, June 1, 1945, Jesuit Online Library, https://jesuitonlinelibrary.bc.edu/?a=d&d=wlet19450601-01.2.7&e=-------en-20--1--txt-txIN-------

- “Jesuits’ Dismantling of 1861 Sanctuary Spurs Anger in Boston,” The New York Times, Oct. 26, 1986, www.nytimes.com/1986/10/26/us/jesuits-dismantling-of-1861-sanctuary-spurs-anger-in-boston.html

- Lyndon, Donlyn, The City Observed: Boston (New York: Vintage Books, 1982), p. 211.

- Newsham, Jack, “Developer revives plans for church site: Proposal filed with city calls for apartments in South End's former Immaculate Conception,” The Boston Globe, March 19, 2015, https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.bpl.org/bostonglobe/docview/1664388744/C62F0D6F14CA476EPQ/6?accountid=9675

- O’Connor, Patrick E., “Immaculate Conception Closes in the South End,” The Pilot, Aug. 10, 2007, www.thebostonpilot.com/article.asp?ID=5032

- “Our History: The School Opens Its Doors,” BC High, www.bchigh.edu/about/mission-statement/our-history

- Santayana, George, Persons and Places: Fragments of Autobiography, The Santayana Edition, based on the texts originally published in 1944, 1945, and 1953, p. 161, https://santayana.iupui.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/George-Santayana-Persons-and-Places.pdf

- Shand-Tucci, Douglass, Built in Boston: City and Suburb, 1800-2000 (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999), p. 23-25.

- Southworth, Susan and Michael, AIA Guide to Boston, Third Edition (Guilford, Conn.: Globe Pequot Press, 2008), p. 146-147.

- Treffeisen, Beth, “South End Landmarks Denies Removal of Window Traceries on Immaculate Conception Church,” The Boston Sun, March 10, 2018, https://thebostonsun.com/2018/03/10/south-end-landmarks-denies-removal-of-window-traceries-on-immaculate-conception-church

- Turchi, Megan, “Another South End church may be converted into condos,” Realestate.boston.com, March 2, 2016, http://realestate.boston.com/buying/2016/03/02/immaculate-conception-church-may-be-converted-to-condos