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Chapman sweetens Crystal Cathedral offer: $1 monthly rent

November 14, 2011 |  3:13 pm


Chapman University sweetened its offer Monday to buy the Crystal Cathedral, saying it would charge the bankrupt church only $1 a month rent to stay in the core buildings, including the iconic cathedral.

The announcement was met with applause in a packed courtroom in Santa Ana, where a bankruptcy judge is weighing two competing plans.

The school's offer remains at $51.5 million. The other plan is from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, which boosted its offer to $57.5 million, though the Crystal Cathedral ministry would have to relocate.

"It has become more obvious than ever that the Crystal Cathedral is an important part of this county," said Chapman President James L. Doti.

The Crystal Cathedral also would be able to lease the Family Life Center, which houses the church's school, for $65,000 a month for two years.

The main change in the plan is that the core buildings could be leased for 15 years for $1 a month.

The church also has a 15-year repurchase option.

Jeffrey W. Broker, the attorney representing Chapman, said the new proposal was put together in about 90 minutes.

"This is what the university can do to try to meet the needs of the university and the congregation," Broker said.


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-- Nicole Santa Cruz in Santa Ana

Photo: A bankruptcy judge is expected to choose a buyer for the Crystal Cathedral building Monday. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times