Diocese sells former retreat center

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PROVIDENCE — The diocese has sold a former retreat center that it has owned near the coast in Narragansett since the 1950s.

The former Our Lady of Peace Retreat Center had been shuttered since 2006, and on the market since 2007, according to Michael F. Sabatino, chief financial officer for the diocese.

Middlebridge School, a residential boarding school, agreed to pay $2.6 million for the property. It is paying the diocese $2 million up front, with an agreement to pay in installments of $100,000 a year over the next six years.

While the sale includes the purchase of the Hazard Castle stone mansion, with its landmark turret, it does not include all of the property at 333 Ocean Road. The buyers chose to purchase only 22 of the available 38 acres.

“We’re discerning what we’re going to do with the rest of the property,” which includes grass-covered land with a barn, the CFO said.

Sabatino said proceeds from the sale of the property would be used for three purposes.

First, about $1 million will be used to repay funds borrowed to cover operational costs of maintaining the property over the last six years.

Secondly, part of the proceeds will be used to make a partial payment on the diocesan line of credit, while the remaining funds will be applied to the senior priest retirement fund.