The Minnesota Historical Society has agreed to buy the Monsignor Ambrose Hayden Center from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for $4.5 million to help address parking and space issues at the nearby Minnesota History Center.

The Historical Society plans to use the 60,000-square-foot Hayden Center, located across the street from the History Center at 328 W. Kellogg Blvd. in St. Paul, for offices, meetings and storage. It also hopes to use the building’s 129-space parking lot as an option for guests visiting the History Center and nearby James J. Hill House.

“We see the purchase of this property as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Steve Elliott, CEO and director of the Historical Society, which operates the center.

The Historical Society hopes to close on the deal early next year, said spokeswoman Jessica Kohen. As part of the purchase agreement, the archdiocese plans to lease back the building for one year.

The Historical Society has yet to decide what it will move to the building and whether any renovations will be needed, Kohen said. Because there are no current plans to turn it into a historic or interpretive site, no state money is being used for the purchase, she said.

The Hayden Center is one of several properties put up for sale after the archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy because of a large number of clergy abuse claims.

Nicole Norfleet