Mar 032010

This file photo shows the Diocese of Davenport headquarters in Davenport, which the diocese has purchased back from St. Ambrose University.

By Barb Arland-Fye

DAVENPORT— The Diocese of Davenport has purchased 5.5 acres of property it previously owned for $1.225 million from St. Ambrose University. The purchase includes the diocese’s administration building, attached residential wings, duplex apartment and three garages. Representatives for the diocese and St. Ambrose, the Davenport-based diocesan university, closed on the sale Tuesday, March 2.

The diocese borrowed money to pay for the property, but will pay back the loan with proceeds from the Diocesan Capital Campaign, which is currently underway.

St. Ambrose had acquired all 58 acres of land and buildings known as the St. Vincent property in Davenport on July 31, 2009. The university paid $3.35 million after negotiating a financial agreement with the trustee handling the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s liquidation of diocesan assets. The court received the deed for the property as part of a $37 million settlement the diocese reached in 2008 with its creditors, most of whom are survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

The diocese had explored a variety of options for locating its administration center, including building new or purchasing or leasing a building elsewhere.

“But the existing building is sound and it was the most economical solution,” said Deacon David Montgomery, the diocese’s communications director.

“I developed a Chancery Task Force to study the best option for us and it was determined that this was the best option and we are exercising that option by purchasing back the buildings and property,” said Msgr. John Hyland, the diocese’s vicar general.

For the landlocked university located a few blocks from St. Vincent’s, purchase of the property provided opportunities for growth. A planning team comprised of St. Ambrose’s board of trustees, management, faculty and staff is developing a master plan for the rest of the property.

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