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Chapman University ups its bid for the Crystal Cathedral

November 16, 2011 | 10:24 pm

Crystal cathedral campus

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.

In its filing, Chapman University outlined several options for the Crystal Cathedral, including its $51.5-million offer, which allows the church to lease buildings for $1, and its new $59-million bid. The new bid excludes a buyback option and right-of-first refusal for the cathedral's core buildings, but includes Sunday access to the Crystal Cathedral to film its landmark television program "Hour of Power."

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.


Crystal Cathedral's supporters are still praying for a miracle

Chapman University sweetens offer for Crystal Cathedral campus

Diocese of Orange ups offer for Crystal Cathedral: $57.5 million

-- Nicole Santa Cruz in Orange County


Photo: The Crystal Cathedral campus

Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times