FARMINGTON - A Christmas wish may have been granted early for the Homestead Community Church, as it may soon occupy the Exchange Bank Building in Farmington.

Jeff and Kristie Kerr, pastors of Homestead, attended the Farmington Economic Development Authority meeting Dec. 20, to express interest in purchasing the space known as the Riste Lot. The lot is located behind the Exchange Bank Building.

The Exchange Bank Building, on the corner of Third and Oaks streets was built 138 years ago. Designed by Augustus Gauger of St. Paul, the building was originally a bank with an upstairs grand hall that served as a community gathering place.

For years, the Kerrs have been interested in opening a church in the building.

For the last few years, the Homestead Community Church congregation worshiped with an attendance of around 160 inside Faith United Methodist Church. The two churches worship on each Sunday and plan to host a joint Christmas Eve service.

"We have been in Farmington for 14 years and saw that building and thought it would make a great building for a church," Kerr said.

"We have talked about what to do with it (Riste Lot) for a few years, whether to sell it, and we had entertained a purchase agreement a couple years ago that did not come to fruition," said Adam Kienberger, facilitator of the EDA meeting and city community development director.

"The whole idea for that location ... it is right within the heart of the downtown," Kerr said.

Kienberger said the city and the church have been in communication with city officials to help identity any deficiencies within the building.

"There have been a lot of communication between these folks and a number of interested parties that help to identify what those hurdles are in regards to doing something with the building," Kienberger said.

"As far as the current layout of the building, our intention is not to go in there and gut the thing ... we want to keep the character of the building," Jeff Kerr said.