Evidently, the deal announced a couple weeks back isn’t a done deal.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange has once again increased its offer to buy the Crystal Cathedral — by $1.8 million to $55.4 million.
Alan Martin, an attorney representing the diocese, made the announcement about the cash offer Wednesday in a bankruptcy court hearing that focused on issues that may arise during Monday’s confirmation hearing. The diocese also promised to honor the legacy of Crystal Cathedral founder Robert H. Schuller, maintain a space in the tower for inter-faith worship and preserve the integrity of the Memorial Gardens.
At Monday’s hearing, Judge Robert Kwan is expected to approve one of two proposals to buy the financially ailing cathedral – one by the diocese and a $51.5 million offer by ChapmanUniversity. The main difference between the two proposals is that Chapman is offering a 15-year leaseback plan so the ministry can continue as well as a buyback option so the ministry can purchase core buildings including the iconic glass sanctuary.
Last month, the cathedral’s board pickedChapman as the preferred buyer to purchase the property.
The diocese is offering the option for the ministry to continue operating in the core buildings for a few years and then move to where St. Callistus Catholic Church is currently located – down the street at 12921 S. Lewis St.
Martin told the judge that officials at the diocese have been in discussion with the Schuller family over the last few days to find out more about their needs. Maria Rullo Schinderle, general counsel for the diocese, said if the sale goes through, the diocese will take every step to ensure that the legacy of the Crystal Cathedral is preserved.
The diocese had promised that there will be a library in the Visitor Center dedicated to founder Robert H. Schuller and his wife, Arvella, who began their ministry more than 55 years ago atop the roof of a snack shack in the Orange drive-in theater. The diocese has also promised that a chapel on the top floor of the Tower of Hope will remain untouched as an inter-faith place of worship.