BELLEVUE, Wash. - Inside the Mars Hill megachurch, Thomas Hurst, the lead pastor of the Bellevue location is already thinking about moving day.
"We pray and we believe in the power of prayer," said Hurst.
It is what he is asking people to do as Mars Hill works out a math problem that involves the number of worshipers outgrowing the current facility.
"We are really pushing 3000 people," said Hurst.
By 2017, when the lease is up in Bellevue, Mars Hill expects its Eastside numbers will have doubled. Mars Hill has 15 locations in five states. The church wants to move its headquarters to Bellevue and even start a Bible college there, so Mars Hill has been property hunting.
Hurst said they found a property they love in the 1800 block of 120th Avenue Northeast in Bellevue. The church tried to buy the property from owner International Paper, but International Paper sold to Sound Transit.
Sound Transit spokesperson Geoff Patrick says they started looking at the site in 2011.
"They (Mars Hill) have sort of arrived in the process a little bit late," said Patrick. "It was a week after we executed the binding purchase and sale agreement that we first heard from Mars Hill about their interest in the site."
He said that happened in June when plans were already rolling to expand the light rail system from 16 to 50 miles.
"We are going to need a lot more trains and a new place to store and maintain those," said Patrick.
To fill that need, the Bellevue site is among a few locations being considered. After environmental reviews and public comment comes in, Sound Transit could possibly pass on the property and sell it. That's why the church has a campaign underway, asking people to email the transit agency and pray that the location becomes Mars Hill's new home.
Sound Transit will not choose a final site for its maintenance facility until 2015. If the Bellevue site it not selected, selling the property is just a possibility and the agency said it is too early to speculate about it.