For over a year, leaders at a black owned church have negotiated with the city of Orlando over the sale of their church, but now those talks have broken down and the city is suing in order to force the church to sell.
The city needs the land where Faith Deliverance Temple sits so that it can build a $115 million dollar soccer stadium
Orlando Sentinel‘s Mark Schlueb reports that the church’s owners had initially been offered $1 million dollars, double the appraised value of the church, but refused. The city eventually increased its offer to $4 million dollars, but the family that owns the church turned it down. The owners reduced their bid from $35 million dollars to $15 million.
City Attorney Mayanne Downs says the city is willing to pay the church much more than the appraised value, but the church owner’s asking prices is just too high.
“We’ve got a duty to safeguard the assets of the city,” Downs told the Orlando Sentinel. “While we were certainly willing to pay the Williams family a substantial amount of money — much more than the property is worth by any estimate — there comes a point where we have to go to court.”
Now a judge will decide if the church property can be taken by the city using eminent domain. If the judge finds that building a soccer stadium is a legitimate public use, then the church owners will lose. If that happens, then the next step is to determine the fair market value of the property, which is much less than the $4 million offered by the city.