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Chapman, Diocese of Orange boost bids for Crystal Cathedral

August 9, 2011 |  5:28 pm

Crystal Cathedral
Chapman University and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange appear to be the front-runners to buy the bankrupt Crystal Cathedral, although a new suitor has emerged, according to documents filed in bankruptcy court Tuesday.

The disclosure statement filed by the creditors committee outlined options for the Garden Grove church to exit Chapter 11.

The diocese, according to the documents, increased its cash offer from $50 million to $53.6 million and would require the Crystal Cathedral's ministry to leave the property after three years. But the diocese would attempt to help it find a new space.

Chapman University amended its original offer of $46 million to $50 million. In a letter dated Aug. 4, the school offered the ministry two individuals related to Chapman with "extensive experience in business, financial and operational strategy."

The documents also disclosed that there is a new potential buyer for the property but did not specify who.

The Crystal Cathedral announced 10 days ago that it no longer wanted to solicit offers for the property and instead began a faith-based effort, relying solely on donations.

The creditors committee is allowing the cathedral to choose a buyer, as long as the purchase price is at least $50 million.

If the church does not cooperate with the committee, a buyer could be chosen without leasing and buyback options, and the ministry could have to find a new home sooner than expected.

The disclosure statement mentioned two other proposals, one from the arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby, and the other from Norco-based My Father’s House Church International, which the committee singled out as an "inferior" offer.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 14 in Santa Ana.


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-- Nicole Santa Cruz

Photo: The Tower of Power at the Crystal Cathedral campus in Garden Grove. Credit: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times