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City and church unable to agree on purchase price of land

In a previous post we wrote about the City of Orlando receiving permission to use eminent domain to secure land for a new Major League Soccer stadium. The property is located in the Parramore neighborhood. At the time of that post we mentioned that the city also needed to secure a parcel of land currently occupied by a church. The city was facing difficulty reaching a purchase price agreement with the owner of the parcel. In the intervening months negotiations have not gone anywhere.

As was the case at the time of the last post, the church is still seeking $35 million for the parcel. This is significantly more than what it has been appraised for—according to Orlando’s mayor, $700,000. The church is apparently basing its asking price, at least in part, on the amount it sold another parcel, located in another part of town, for several years ago. In 2007 the city paid approximately $35 million for land located in downtown Orlando.

The parcel of land where the church sits is the final piece needed for the project. In addition to having secured the financing needed for the project, the stadium plans have been approved. Because so far, a year of negotiations hasn’t yielded an agreement, the city has indicated that it is expecting to move forward with eminent domain proceedings. The first step of this process, also referred to as condemnation, is for the city to receive permission for a judge to take the property. Should the judge find in favor of the city, the next step would be for a fair price to be determined.

The difficulties the city has had in securing this real estate has forced the soccer team to change its plans regarding where the 2015 season will be played. In addition to costing a lot of time, the delays in securing the parcel of land have undoubtedly cost the team a lot of money as well. As a result, the sooner the matter is addressed and construction can start the better.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Orlando going to court to take church land for MLS soccer stadium," Mark Schlueb, April 29, 2014

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