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O.C. diocese to explore purchase of Crystal Cathedral site

July 6, 2011 | 11:23 am


TodbrownThis post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange has expressed interest in the Crystal Cathedral property, a spokesman said Wednesday.

"We really have no sufficient space or a facility to accommodate the 1.2 million Catholics in Orange County," said Steve Bohannon, a diocese spokesman.

That coupled with Bishop Tod D. Brown's concern that the Garden Grove property could become anything else but a place of worship is why he has authorized a law firm and other advisers to look into the purchase of the property, Bohannon said. 

So far, two parties have offered to purchase the Crystal Cathedral property for $46 million. The first is Greenlaw Partners, an Orange County-based real estate developer, which would build apartments on the property. Chapman University filed an offer Tuesday, and would like to use the property as a health sciences center. Both offers allow the Crystal Cathedral Ministry to lease back core buildings, including the landmark cathedral.

The Crystal Cathedral filed for bankruptcy in October, citing more than $50 million in debt. Bohannon said no formal offers have been made, and the diocese is only looking at options regarding the property.

[For the record, 11:41 a.m. July 6: A previous version of the post referred to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange as an archdiocese.]


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-- Nicole Santa Cruz

Photos, from top: Crystal Cathedral; Bishop Tod Brown. Credits: Los Angeles Times; Orange County Diocese