Orlando, church debate value of land needed for new MLS stadium

Orlando City Soccer ClubA local church is seeking $35 million for a piece of land needed to build the new Orlando City stadium in the city’s Parramore district, despite an estimated valuation of $700,000.

The church, Faith Deliverance Temple, is asking for $35 million based on what the city paid another church. City officials say the two situations aren’t the same and are looking to the court system and eminent domain to take control of the church. From the Orlando Sentinel:

“My understanding is…they’re back at wanting $35 million for a $700,000 piece of property, so I anticipate at some point we’re going to have to move forward and let the court determine what the fair market value of that property is,” [Orlando Mayor Buddy] Dyer said….

Dyer said taking the land in court wouldn’t give Orlando a black eye.

“We really haven’t had much of a PR backlash,” he said. “I’ve actually visited with a lot of people in the faith community, and the idea that the city government with taxpayer dollars would pay $35 million to any organization for a $700,000 piece of property doesn’t really sit well with very many people.”

Eminent domain proceedings will take months: first, the city will need to make a case that there’s a public use to paying fair market value for the church. The second part of the proceedings will establish the fair market. Orlando has prevailed in two other eminent-domain cases in the effort to put together a stadium site in Orlando’s Parramore area.

While many legal experts do not expect the church to prevail on the valuation, it already has had one major effect: Orlando City will play the entire 2015 season at the Citrus Bowl. The previous plan had been to play part of the season at the Citrus Bowl before opening the new stadium in the middle of the season.

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August Publications