Chapman University ups bid for Crystal Cathedral by $1.5 million

The Crystal Cathedral is a Protestant Christian megachurch in the city of Garden Grove, in Orange County. The prominent architect Philip Johnson designed the main sanctuary building, which was constructed using over 10,000 rectangular panes of glass and its sanctuary seats 2,736 people.
The Crystal Cathedral is a Protestant Christian megachurch in the city of Garden Grove, in Orange County. The prominent architect Philip Johnson designed the main sanctuary building, which was constructed using over 10,000 rectangular panes of glass and its sanctuary seats 2,736 people. Thierry/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

The bidding war for the bankrupt Crystal Cathedral in Orange County is heating up. The church and its creditors have named Chapman University as their preferred buyer.

The creditors group that’s owed $50 million by the megachurch contends Chapman University’s latest offer is the best option for the iconic Garden Grove campus.

Chapman University is a top contender in a bidding war for the church campus along with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. In a recent letter, the university increased its bid from $50 million to $51.5 million.

The creditors committee says the terms of the university’s deal are better than the Catholic Diocese’s larger $53.6 million offer.

Church attorneys also prefer Chapman because the university would allow the Crystal Cathedral to lease buildings with an option to buy them back within five years. The Catholic Diocese would require the church to move within three years.

Crystal Cathedral officials fear a relocation would threaten the viability of the 55-year-old ministry. The bankruptcy court judge will have to sign off on a final deal.

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