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Work starts on site of St. Stanislaus church

After a decade of uncertainty, the first of 19 new luxury condominiums are being built on a portion of the historic St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Church site in Fells Point.

The Union Box Co., developers of Merchant Point on the 1.5 acre-lot at the corner of Aliceanna and South Ann streets, expect to have the first two units ready in mid-September, said Trent Waite, a broker for Garceau Realty, the listing agents.

The 122-year-old St. Stanislaus church building, once the spiritual hub for thousands of working-class Polish immigrants, remains listed for sale, Waite said. The church is a city landmark and cannot be razed.

Larry Silverstein, who owns Union Box and other key developments in Fells Point, owns the St. Stanislaus site. Silverstein was traveling and unavailable for comment.

“We’re trying to create unique urban townhouses that fit into the neighborhood,” Waite said. “They don’t want to mimic anything, so we’re not looking like a White Marsh townhouse.”

The four-story, four-bedroom houses will be partially fitted with factory-made panelized construction, designed to fit into frames being built on the site, Waite said. Those pre-assembled structures will be delivered in early July, installed and then capped with a roof and windows.

The townhomes will start at $585,000, Waite said, and offer numerous options that could add to the base price such as upgraded cabinets, kitchen and bath countertops, flooring, tiles and fireplaces.

Buyers will be able to take advantage of a five-year property tax phase-in for new construction in the city.

Merchant Point is being built on the site of part of the former friary of St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Church. A historic house where the brothers once lived on the lot will be rehabbed and converted into a single-family dwelling listed at $700,000, Waite said.

Silverstein purchased portions of the St. Stanislaus property from the Franciscans in phases over the past several years. Last month, Silverstein completed the purchase of the property where the townhouses are being built and immediately broke ground.

Last fall, Silverstein said the recession had stalled the project, the site of the former Mother Seton Academy, which closed four years ago.

The New Century School, a Montessori-based private school with 60 students enrolled last fall, leases space from Silverstein in the former parish school building.