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BOSTON – The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) today announced that it plans to sell its historic Beacon Hill properties and move its national headquarters to Boston’s Innovation District. The Association’s Board of Trustees yesterday authorized the purchase of a building at 24 Farnsworth Street and the subsequent sale of the organization’s four buildings on Beacon Hill.
25 Beacon Street, immediately adjacent to the Massachusetts State House, has served as the Unitarian headquarters since its construction in 1925-1927 and as the headquarters for the UUA since its formation in 1961 as the result of the consolidation of the American Unitarian Association (AUA) and the Universalist Church of America (UCA).
The UUA also plans to sell its office building at 41 Mount Vernon Street, currently the headquarters of Beacon Press, as well as the properties at 6 and 7 Mount Vernon Place.
Tim Brennan, UUA treasurer and chief financial officer, spearheaded a two-year search for a new headquarters that began with a strategic analysis of the Association’s current facilities.
According to Brennan, “After considerable research and analysis, we came to the conclusion that our current facilities on Beacon Hill were ill-suited to a contemporary, forward-looking organization. And remaining in these buildings would have required millions of dollars in renovations over the next few years.”
The new headquarters of the UUA is a six-story building in the heart of the Innovation District. The UUA, which will occupy three of the six floors, will execute a lease with an option to purchase on January 1, 2015.
“Our headquarters needs to be flexible, use high technology and foster collaboration of groups of varying size. This new facility will help us realize these important functions in a way that our current headquarters is unable to do,” explains The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the UUA.
The AUA opened its first headquarters in Boston in 1865 and moved to another location on Beacon Hill in 1873. From 1886 until 1925 it occupied “old 25 Beacon” on the corner of Beacon and Bowdoin Streets just east of the State House. The AUA sold that building in 1925, bought 32 Beacon Street, and built the UUA’s current headquarters, but maintained its old address. The UCA was also headquartered in Boston before merging with the AUA in 1961.
The UUA is a faith community of more than 1,000 congregations that bring to the world a vision of religious freedom, tolerance, and social justice.