Orlando leaders move forward with plans to bulldoze church for new stadium

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The city of Orlando’s plan to bulldoze a Parramore church to make way for a new $84 million soccer stadium is moving forward.

Faith Deliverance Temple sits along Church Street not far from where the stadium will be built, and now the city is going to use eminent domain to seize that land.

On Monday leaders voted to move forward with the plan, despite opposition from Parramore residents.

Parramore advocate Lawanna Gelzer argued before the City Council that the move is pushing out the black community in the area.

“[The] most valuable thing people in Parramore have is their land,” Gelzer said. “This step will further gentrify Parramore.”

The city originally offered the church $1.5 million for its land. That’s more than twice the land’s value in two appraisals, one of which was requested by the city and the other by the church.

The church rejected the offer and instead asked for $35 million and later $40 million.

“I’m not sure compensating them 50 times the fair market value, I’d be able to look taxpayers in the eye and say that was justified,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “But we don’t want to go through the eminent domain process we’d like to come to an agreement.”

If the issue goes to court the city will only pay the church what the court decides is full compensation, which could end up being much lower than the city’s original offer.