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Archdiocese plans property sales to pay bankruptcy debts

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Chancery building
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis chancery building sits near the foot of the Cathedral, overlooking downtown St. Paul, Minn.
Jeffrey Thompson | MPR News

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis plans to sell its chancery office and three other properties to help pay creditors in bankruptcy, chief financial officer Tom Mertens told a creditors' committee meeting Tuesday.

  "Our plan would be that we would sell these four properties assuming that the offer price is adequate," Mertens said in an interview after the meeting.

  Mertens said the archdiocese will ask a bankruptcy trustee for permission to sell a property in Northfield and three St. Paul buildings: The chancery offices on Summit Avenue, the Msgr. Ambrose Hayden Center on Kellogg Boulevard and the Dayton Building.

  Many of the archdiocese's employees work in the chancery or the Hayden Center. Archbishop John Nienstedt lives in the chancery, which is across the street from the Cathedral of St. Paul, the largest and best-known landmark in the Twin Cities archdiocese.

Chancery building
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis chancery building sits near the foot of the Cathedral.
Jeffrey Thompson | MPR News

  Mertens said the archdiocese will consider leasing office space elsewhere.

  He estimated the properties could be sold for "maybe a max of around $11 million" but said the archdiocese hasn't determined the exact amount.

  The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for bankruptcy protection in January amid more than a hundred claims by people who said they were sexually abused by Catholic priests.

  An MPR News investigation in 2013 and 2014 found top church leaders had covered up clergy sex abuse for decades.