ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando City Council on Monday voted to move forward with eminent domain to seize a Central Florida church for the purpose of building a Major League Soccer stadium.
The city originally offered the church $1.5 million for the property, but Faith Deliverance Temple on West Church Street in Parramore wants $35 million for the city to acquire the land.
The church based its counteroffer on what the city paid years ago when it bought a portion of First United Methodist Church to construct a performing arts center.
Mayor Buddy Dyer said the city's offer to the church was twice the value of the property. The church's property value was appraised at $675,000 and $695,000.
"The other church got twice the value of their property. So we'll give them twice the value of their property which will be a million and a half," Dyer said.
The council voted to move forward with the eminent domain proceedings, in which case the judge would step in and decide the value of the land. Dyer said the city is still open to negotiating.
"We are hopeful that we can continue negotiations with Faith Deliverance Temple that assures the church can be successful moving forward," Dyer said.
Kyan Ware with the Florida Civil Rights Association said the church has been in its current location since the 1980s and that a soccer stadium doesn't help the church or the people of Parramore.
"The jobs created by seasonal sports and a stadium are not going to create living wages that people can depend on throughout the entire year," Ware said.
Orlando City Soccer was awarded a MLS franchise last year. The team, which will play at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports in 2014, will begin MLS play in 2015.
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