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Developer to buy Crystal Cathedral campus for apartment construction

May 27, 2011 |  8:09 pm

A Newport Beach development company will buy Crystal Cathedral Ministries' landmark campus for $46 million and build apartments on the site, filings in federal bankruptcy court disclosed Friday.

Crystal Cathedral campus Greenlaw Partners will lease back the cathedral and parking area to the church administration and give the successors to founder Robert H. Schuller the option of buying it back for $30 million within the next four years, according to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy exit plan filed by the ministries at the federal courthouse in Santa Ana.

The ministries made famous by Schuller's televised "Hour of Power" celebrations also plans to sell a condominium it owns in Laguna Beach that was valued in the reorganization plan at $999,000.

The ministries' plan for exiting bankruptcy, which lawyers said could be confirmed as soon as Aug. 15, listed six classes of "unimpaired" creditors to be paid from distributions of the sales proceeds, with the county tax authorities owed about $60,000 designated as the first priority followed by Farmers & Merchants Bank, which holds a $36-million mortgage on the ministries' real estate. More than 550 creditors were included in the filings, but only a handful were designated as eligible for the distribution payments.

A reorganized ministries' leadership led by Chief Executive Sheila Schuller Coleman, the founder's daughter, will pay $212,000 a month to Greenlaw to lease the cathedral and core elements needed to keep the church in operation.

The filings listed a little more than $2 million on hand in operating revenue -- a sum creditors pointed out in earlier filings was protected by federal bankruptcy law from being used by the debt-ridden church hierarchy.


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Photo: Crystal Cathedral campus pictured in 2010. Credit: Los Angeles Times