SHARECOMMENTMORE

MINNEAPOLIS - Westminster Presbyterian Church and its members have called the corner of 12th and Nicollet home for 155 years. On Thursday, the church announced it has purchased two neighboring properties and will begin a multi-year plan to rebuild on the site.

"Because of the way this all happened with an extraordinary breathtaking generous gift, the cart was kind of before the horse," said Westminster Pastor Tim Hart-Andersen.

Hart-Andersen may have put it mildly, more bluntly, the church had no idea up until several weeks ago that a donor wanted to help with the purchase of the two properties.

The Wells Fargo Business Center and the Marimark Apartments were both purchased and will be torn down, officials said.

The church is in the process of finding new housing for people still in the apartments. About half of the 60 who live at the Marimark have already found homes, officials said. Westminster leaders said they even helped them with deposits and down payments.

As for what may be built on the site, for now, the church would only speculate about the possibilities.

"We've got all kinds of ideas that are beginning to percolate in the system, which is what we want to do, but we haven't committed ourselves to any of them," said Hart-Anderson.

Church leaders are giving themselves plenty of time to talk and figure it all out.It will likely be another year and a half before a plan is in place and construction begins.