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Shepherd of the Sea in Groton up for sale

Groton — The distinctive A-framed Shepherd of the Sea Chapel, closed four years ago after hosting many change-of-command ceremonies, weddings and memorial services over nearly half a century, is being auctioned online by the Navy and U.S. General Services Administration.

The first open house for interested buyers is being held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday on the former U.S. Navy property off Gungywamp and Briar Hill roads. Other open houses are the same times Wednesday, May 25, and noon to 3 p.m. Thursday, June 9.

According to The Commercial Record, the chapel offering is part of a national campaign to sell former military property. Minimum bid is $100,000, and bidders must be able to put down $20,000. No closing date for bids is currently listed, and the government reserves the right to reject the high bid.

"The chapel was built during the height of the Cold War and situated off-base to support the religious and community needs of married sailors and their dependents," according to a 2012 article in The Dolphin, the U.S. Naval Submarine Base's newspaper.

According to online reports, the A-framed chapel built in 1965 was added onto in 1992, when an educational wing was built. The chapel, eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, was closed in 2012 because of the cost of maintenance and declining attendance.

The nearly 13-acre property, zoned for residential or commercial, includes the 23,000-square-foot chapel and a 5,400-square-foot community center built in the 1970s. A parking lot and driveway are part of the package. According to a November 2015 letter from the State Historic Preservation Office to the Navy, transfer of the chapel will come with historic-preservation covenants limiting changes to the structure.

"The buildings on the property offer classrooms, offices/administration, mechanical rooms, kitchens, restrooms, multi-purpose rooms, storage area, nurseries and playgrounds," according to a release. "The existing furnishings, fixtures and equipment are included in the sale."

When Shepherd of the Sea closed, Chapel on the Thames at the sub base became the primary site for religious services for naval personnel in the region.

l.howard@theday.com 

Sales Information: contact Giselle Rubiera, 617-565-5841 or giselle.rubiera@gsa.gov.

Auction Information: www.RealEstateSales.gov or http://propertydisposal.gsa.gov/.

Open House RSVP: Call Darlene Pruitt, 617-565-5026.

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