Hayden sale approved, chancery sale seeks court approval

| January 8, 2016 | 0 Comments
Built in 1963 by Minneapolis-based Cerny Associates, the chancery’s modern design contrasts the Beaux Arts Cathedral of St. Paul across the street. It is one of five properties the archdiocese plans to sell. Dave Hrbacek/ The Catholic Spirit

Built in 1963 by Minneapolis-based Cerny Associates, the chancery’s modern design contrasts the Beaux Arts Cathedral of St. Paul across the street. It is one of five properties the archdiocese plans to sell. Dave Hrbacek/
The Catholic Spirit

A U.S. bankruptcy court judge approved the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ sale of one building and the archdiocese filed for its approval of another Jan. 7. Both buildings are home to the archdiocese’s central corporation offices.

At a morning hearing at the Minneapolis U.S. Courthouse, Judge Robert Kressel gave the court’s go-ahead for the archdiocese to sell the Monsignor Ambrose Hayden Center to the Minnesota Historical Society, located across Kellogg Boulevard from the property, for $4.5 million. The judge stipulated that the sale revenue be reserved for paying the archdiocese’s creditors, including victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The archdiocese announced the proposed sale in November. The court required the property to be made available for other bids for a period of time, but no other bids were made.

Following the hearing, the archdiocese filed for the court to approve the sale of its chancery building and archbishop’s residence at 226 Summit Ave. and 230 Summit Ave. to United Properties for $2.75 million.

According to a statement from Archbishop Bernard Hebda, the archdiocese’s apostolic administrator, the bankruptcy court must approve the sale for it to proceed. As with the Hayden Center, the court also requires the property to be made available for other bids. Other interested parties have until March 18 to submit an offer.

The Archdiocesan Finance Council, College of Consultors and the Corporate Board of Directors have approved the chancery’s sale to United Properties, a Minneapolis-based commercial and residential developer. If the bankruptcy court approves the proposed sale, the archdiocese expects to close on the building in April and would lease the buildings from United Properties until it moves its offices into a new space.

The chancery and archbishop’s residence, which are connected, were built in 1963 by Minneapolis-based Cerny Associates for $1.5 million. They currently house the archdiocese’s legal and administrative offices, including the offices of the archbishop, auxiliary bishop and vicar general. The archbishop’s residence has been home to the archbishop and a small staff of religious sisters since its construction.

A history of the building described it as a “complex . . . designed to function much like that of an ambassador’s residence. With formal facilities on the ground level and private living space on the upper level, and the assistants living in wings, the structure emphasized distinctions and boundaries.” It has been part of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota’s Minnesota Modernism Tour, and the Ramsey Hill House Tour included the residence’s chapel in September.

Before the archdiocese acquired the property in 1918, it belonged to Amherst Wilder, one of St. Paul’s wealthiest businessmen and philanthropists. The chancery and residence replaced the 15-room Wilder Mansion, a Victorian house with an impressive turret overlooking downtown St. Paul and the Mississippi River, after it was razed in 1959.

In addition to the Hayden and Chancery buildings, the archdiocese has also listed for sale its Dayton Building at 244 Dayton Ave., behind the Cathedral of St. Paul; a neighboring vacant lot; and a residence in Northfield. The archdiocese entered Chapter 11 Reorganization in January 2015 in response to mounting claims of child sex abuse by clergy members.

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