Friday, May 09, 2014

Warren Throckmorton: Mars Hill wants $40 million to purchase Bellevue College building for new facility

Wenatchee The Hatchet has already noted that Mars Hill Church has had a few job openings come up in the last year or so.  One position that seems to have been filled was for a Capital Development Manager.

posted September 17, 2013
see the posts linked to below

It wasn't a hard guess to propose that the pending Mars Hill Schools had at least something to do with a pending capital campaign program and it appears that someone has informed Throckmorton that there's a campaign taking shape to get Bellevue College real estate for Mars Hill Church.

The price will be about $40 million, it seems.  Now some commenter noted that this doesn't look like the real estate that Mars Hill was saying God wanted them to have last year.  That seems to be a correct observation.  Local coverage from October 24, 2013 seemed to stress the International Paper Building as God's will for Mars Hill.
And since at least for the moment robots.txt hasn't covered this subset of Mars Hill Church associated websites we can link to and quote from Pastor Thomas Hurst's late October statements about how the International Paper Building WAS presented as God's will for Mars Hill Church.
capture from October 26, 2013
As we walk down the path God has laid out for us, we want to share with you a bit of a paradigm shift: Bellevue is now in “core group” phase.

While many churches plant with a core group of 25 people, or 250 people, Mars Hill Bellevue is currently a core group of 2,500 people. As we look ahead, the Bellevue elders and the Executive Elders are not just praying for 1,000 people, or 5,000 people on a Sunday, we’re praying for 10,000 people to worship on a Sunday at Mars Hill Bellevue…10,000 individuals whose lives are forever changed by the Gospel. To this end, we need to think, act and pray differently, starting today.  If we wait until tomorrow, a year from now or three years from now when our lease is up, it will be too late.

With this in mind, we have found a site in Bellevue that meets these needs. I’m asking you to pray with us as we explore what it will take to move Mars Hill Bellevue to this new location, and how you can be a part of the mission.

The International Paper Property on 120th St.

After many months of searching and narrowing down our choices, only one building in Bellevue is available that meets the needs of the church that God is building on the Eastside. A few weeks ago we made an offer on a property in the Bel-Red corridor on 120th St. which is currently owned by the

International Paper Company.

The space is about 180,000 sq. feet on 10.5 acres of property, located directly on the new light rail line being developed in 2017. The City of Bellevue has plans to develop the area immediately surrounding this site with retail, restaurants, and urban housing.
After renovations the property could feature:
Seating for 3,000+ per service
Local Bellevue Church office space
Central Operations office space
Media & Communications space
Much larger Kids Ministry area
Space for Mars Hill Students
Training classrooms for a future Bible college
Ample parking space on-site
Large common areas

Mars Hill Bible College

Part of this vision includes opening a Bible college. Recently we sent out proposal requests to the best Bible colleges in the U.S. with the intention of partnering with one of them to establish an accredited Bible school at Mars Hill Bellevue. We want to provide sound theological training for your children as we raise up the next generation of leaders and church planters.

We’re Not Done Yet

Upon submitting our offer for this property, we’ve hit a snag.
Sound Transit, the government agency responsible for building and operating the light rail transit system, has purchased this property to protect their interests, even though we offered to outbid any other offers.

Sound Transit intends to use this property to build an Operations & Maintenance Satellite Facility (OMSF), basically a large barn they will use to maintain the light rail trains, much like the one located in Georgetown just south of downtown Seattle. They have five locations in mind for this facility, and this property on 120th St. is currently their top choice.

“Good for Bellevue”

We believe, though, that this property is the location that God wants us to use to further the mission of the Gospel through Mars Hill Church, so we are continuing to pursue this property and work with Sound Transit to come to an agreement that works well for everyone involved.
We believe a Mars Hill church at this key location is far better for the church, better for the City of Bellevue, and better for the community and local economy than a transit maintenance barn. We will provide:

Immediate benefit to local commerce (restaurants, hotels, transit and more).
More jobs to Bellevue (150+ employees).
Much needed conference/multi-use space to Bellevue.
Ridership for Sound Transit will increase due to our large events and regular attendees because we will be located directly on the transit line.

We plan to use the existing structure, which supports local green initiatives and the development plan for the Bel-Red corridor.

The City of Bellevue can benefit greatly by having both Mars Hill Church’s largest facility and the Sound Transit OMSF located in the city. While Sound Transit has several options for their maintenance barn, we only have one option for our church. Our intention is to work with Sound Transit as they decide by the end of the year whether to use this location or choose one of the other locations that they have available to them.

Unfortunately we find ourselves in a position where we are going up against the government. Given the perspective, we are a small church with little chance of being able to make the government change their decision. However, we will continue to move forward with faith in a God who is bigger than any government.

Given the swiftness with which Mars Hill Church has been purging media content in the last two months and introducing robots.txt to its various sites to preclude the use of The WayBack Machine don't be too surprised if by Monday morning the link above to the screen capture of Good for Bellevue ends up dead. 

Now near the end of the post Throckmorton mentions something about concern about declining donations potentially creating trouble for a fundraising campaign.  That's "possible" but even if overall attendance went down at MHC from FY2012 to FY2013 and even if the percentage of attenders who gave nothing or under $499 in a fiscal year reached an all-time high the mid-tier and high-end donors were giving more than ever to go by what has been publicly disclosed.

For the various times Sutton Turner has spoken as though Mars Hill Church is not especially wealthy, and in spite of Mark Driscoll having told Mars Hill Church "We're not a wealthy church" in 2013, Mars Hill seems to have at least some deep pockets at its disposal and hiring a capital development manager signals you want to start something big enough that capital development is on your radar. 

Monday, May 05, 2014

John Catanzaro breaks silence regarding suspension of license and associated allegations

Wenatchee The Hatchet has tried to keep some track of this story as it progresses.  At one point the blog had a listing of all the content John Catanzaro published at The Resurgence website.  But since January 30, 2014 has robots.txt to preclude The WayBack Machine being used to let readers consult what Catanzaro had at one time published at the website. 

So many things at that has been quoted here at Wenatchee The Hatchet that has also been referenced via The WayBack Machine has now been scrubbed.  At least some of the relevant materials published in which Catanzaro seems to have been discussed have been preserved at the following posts.

Precisely why Mars Hill Church and its assorted sites employ robots.txt to preclude WayBack Machine captures would be the subject of conjecture.  Precisely why Mars Hill Church in the last two months has obliterated about a decade's worth of Mark Driscoll sermons also remains to be explained.  There's surely some explanation (and proposing that the sermons have been available for years already is not an explanation of why they're not easily available now) but so far MHC in its various forms has been kind of quiet. 

Meanwhile, Catanzaro has been in the process of making his appeal.