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Chapman University offers $46 million for Crystal Cathedral site

July 5, 2011 |  2:10 pm

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef0133ec39613d970b-500wi

Chapman University has made an offer to purchase the Crystal Cathedral property for $46 million.

Chapman would use the property as a satellite campus, according to bankruptcy documents filed Tuesday. The university's plan, however, requires bankruptcy judge Robert Kwan to terminate the church’s exclusivity, which had been granted last month.

The Crystal Cathedral filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late last year. This new reorganization plan, which was filed by a creditors committee, is designed to compete with a plan filed by the church in May. In that original plan, Greenlaw Partners, a Newport Beach-based real estate developer, would purchase the church campus for the same amount.

One key difference, however, are the lease-back terms for the Crystal Cathedral. Under the new plan, the church will be able to lease back ministry buildings for $150,000 per month compared to $212,000 a month under the plan involving Greenlaw.

The church also would be able to repurchase the ministry buildings for $23.5 million compared to $30 million under the original exit plan.

Moreover, Chapman's plan claims to save the church $1.75 million in rent in the first year alone, helping to address what it said are operating deficiencies.

The Crystal Cathedral is "strategically located just three miles from Chapman University’s City of Orange campus," according to a statement from the university. "The Cathedral is a well-known icon in Orange County, and the surrounding property includes seven major buildings representing more than 329,000 square feet of space."

The school’s board of trustees authorized the proposal at its June 27 meeting.

"The offer is designed to address community concerns about the uncertainty of the Crystal Cathedral’s present situation as well as provide growth opportunities for Chapman University,” according to the statement.

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-- Nicole Santa Cruz

Photo: Crystal Cathedral complex. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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