Chapman University ups its bid for the Crystal Cathedral
Chapman University has upped its bid for the bankrupt Crystal Cathedral to $59 million, almost $2 million more than the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, court documents filed Wednesday show.
The Garden Grove property has become the subject of a a bidding war between the university, which would like the use it as a satellite campus, and the diocese, which would like to use the church as its cathedral.
A hearing to decide on a buyer for the church founded by the Rev. Robert H. Schuller is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Santa Ana.
The bid also allows the church to lease back the Tower of Hope, basement portions of the Crystal Cathedral and other parts of the campus for $25,000 a month and includes access to all buildings seven days a week, except for the cathedral.
Chapman would assume control of the church's Memorial Gardens under the new plan. The letter states that Chapman also would "rehabilitate" the Crystal Cathedral for an estimated six months, and services would move to the Arboretum.
During a hearing Monday, Chapman University assembled a plan in which the school would purchase the property for $51.5 million and allow the ministry to lease core buildings for $1 per month for a 15-year term. The church also would have the right of first refusal.
The diocese has offered $57.1 million. It would allow the church to lease back core buildings, but the ministry would have to find a new home after three years.
The Crystal Cathedral board met Wednesday evening to discuss the options, but did not make its preference public. Representatives from Chapman and the diocese did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday night.
-- Nicole Santa Cruz in Orange County
Photo: The Crystal Cathedral campus
Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times