For sale: church offices

| May 20, 2015 | 0 Comments

Archdiocesan properties go on the market

For Sale sign posted on the building housing The Catholic Spirit offices on Dayton Avenue in St. Paul. Michael Pytleski/The Catholic Spirit

For sale sign posted on the building housing The Catholic Spirit offices on Dayton Avenue in St. Paul. Michael Pytleski/The Catholic Spirit

For sale signs have appeared in front of 244 Dayton Ave., home to the offices of The Catholic Spirit and one of four St. Paul properties the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis plans to sell as part of its Reorganization process.

The other properties include the archbishop’s residence and chancery offices at 226 Summit Ave., the Hayden Center at 328 W. Kellogg Blvd. and a vacant lot at 250 Dayton Ave.

Three of the buildings are located adjacent to the Cathedral of St. Paul and house archdiocesan offices.

The archdiocese decided to sell the buildings after filing for Chapter 11 Reorganization in January. The bankruptcy court has not ordered the archdiocese to sell the properties.

“The reason we’re looking to sell our buildings is that we understand there’s a need for cash, whether it’s cash that goes into a fund for victims or for operational needs,” said Tom Mertens, the archdiocese’s chief financial officer.

The cost of owning the buildings, including maintenance, repairs and capital improvements, exceeds the estimated costs of leasing a building, Mertens said. The archdiocese plans to lease property for its new offices.

The impact of the archdiocesan offices losing immediate proximity to the Cathedral of St. Paul is more symbolic than key for operations, Mertens said.

While selling the buildings is a prudent business decision, it’s also a difficult one, Mertens said, because of the history of the buildings’ use by the archdiocese.

“There will be much more efficiency having everybody housed in one location,” Mertens added. “Accessibility will be much more enhanced. I really don’t see any downsides to having all departments in one building.”

According to Richard Anderson, an attorney from Briggs and Morgan representing the archdiocese, any real estate sale will require the bankruptcy court’s approval and be subject to “higher and better offers.”

The archdiocese has not listed asking prices, and Mertens said he does not have a timeline in mind for the buildings’ sale. The archdiocese is also selling a private residence in Northfield.

According to an offering memorandum prepared by Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq, the real estate firm listing the St. Paul buildings, all three buildings may be eligible for historic tax credits or preservation-related grants. Their locations, nearby amenities and preservation incentives add to their appeal, it stated.

With buildings on market, archdiocese parting with pieces of its history

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