No deal reached for land sale between Magic, Rescue Mission


Channel 9 has learned that the Orlando Magic have not reached a deal to move the Orlando Union Rescue Mission, which means their now $200 million entertainment complex will be going up right beside the shelter on Central Avenue.

The privately funded mission does not believe in going into debt, so the only way it can move is if the Magic or another investor builds it a new $7 million facility.

Rescue Mission president Allen Harden said that's not much compared with the $200 million about to be spent here.

"It's somewhat of an odd problem. How do they do what they do? How do we do what we do in the same location?" said Harden.

Harden estimates that in addition to the Magic gaining $1 million to $2 million for the value of the Mission’s property, the costs to the Magic would be reduced 35 percent in income tax deductions, leaving their actual cost at $2.5 million to $3 million or 1.3 percent of their $200 million in development costs.

Each afternoon, homeless men line up on the sidewalk to get into the rescue mission.

When the entertainment complex is built, there will be a high rise and thousands of convention goers, hotel guests and shoppers right next to the mission.

"Some of the challenges will be that you have this entire new complex downtown, including the soccer stadium behind us, and we are trying to reach our hurting population and to help them in a rather odd location now," said Harden.

Harden is still hopeful the Magic will be willing to play ball by donating a new facility.

"We're only talking about a drop in the bucket to help people, thousands of people," he said.

"The impact this mission has made in my life is beyond words," said employee Sean Kelly. "I would be dead."

Instead, Kelly is holding down a job and working to help others learn to do the same in the same building they've used for 65 years.

A source with the Magic told Channel 9 it's not necessary for the mission to move for the entertainment complex to be built. Officials said they have contributed more than $1 million to the Parramore community and built reading centers and playgrounds.