The construction plans call for a 2,978-square-foot, two-story dormitory with four bedroom suites in the location of the current garage on the property located at 136 W. Wesley Road. The dormitory will include an exercise room and library. The plans also call for a substantial renovation to the existing single-family home on the property.
According to public statements by Christ the King officials, the rectory will house Father Frank McNamee and six priests.
Christ the King purchased the property, which previously served as the home of Archbishop Wilton Gregory, from the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta at a cost of just above $1.9 million.
Regarding the cost of the renovations, Sam Fraundorf, chairman of the finance council at Christ the King, said in an April 3 article in The Georgia Bulletin, an official publication of the Atlanta Catholic Archdiocese, “We have been using a number of $1 million to address demolition, building, update and repairs on the existing portion of the house. We recently had to change contractors, moving from a residential to commercial contractor, which may impact those numbers. However, we continue with that as the best estimate at this point.”
The total cost of the project is estimated to be at least $3 million. During the planning process with the city of Atlanta Office of Buildings, the church changed the description of the project from a renovation to the Christ the King rectory to an addition to a single-family home.
Many Christ the King parishioners have been openly critical of the plan.
“This money that was given to Christ the King could have been better spent on the school and to needy individuals in our parish,” said Susan Euart, a longtime parishioner of the church. “The current rectory located on the Christ the King campus is fine for the priests’ needs. If it needs to be renovated, I believe the parishioners would support this expenditure. We want our priests to live comfortably and well.”
Lifelong parishioner Bill Murray, who also serves as the zoning chairman of Neighborhood Planning Unit B, which encompasses Peachtree Heights West, said, “I am concerned about the lack of timely communication between the church and the parishioners regarding this project. If the issuance of this building permit is appealed to the Board of Zoning Adjustment, it will come before NPU B for review and comment.”
Some Peachtree Heights West residents also have objected to the plan. They have even retained zoning and land use attorney Hakim Hilliard to review the legality of the planned construction project, parking facility and renovations.
A voicemail message left at the church’s general inbox seeing comment was not returned as of Friday afternoon.