Orlando City Council approves $2 million purchase of Pulse Nightclub property

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando City Commissioners signed off on a deal to purchase the Pulse Nightclub property for $2 million.


The city said the purchase will be the first step in them developing a permanent memorial at the site that honors the victims of the June 12 massacre, where 49 people were killed.

The purchase comes nearly seven years after the city made an offer to buy the property for $2.25 million in 2017. The owners ultimately pulled out of that contract and formed the One Pulse Foundation.

In the years that followed, the foundation tried unsuccessfully to come to an agreement for the property.

Read: Pulse survivors question city’s decision to buy nightclub property

In May, the One Pulse Foundation announced that a deal with property owners Barbara and Rosario Poma, and a third party - Michael Panaggio, fell apart.

As a result, the One Pulse Foundation suggested building a permanent memorial on a different site.

According to Mayor Buddy Dyer, sometime after that deal fell apart, the city of Orlando approached the owners and renewed talks to purchase the property.

Read: Central Florida marks seven years since the deadly Pulse nightclub mass shooting

During the hours-long city council meeting on Monday, over 50 speakers signed up to share what they want to see happen at the site.

The audience was full of survivors and victims’ loved ones who wiped away tears and embraced during the emotional meeting.

Mayra Alvear lost her daughter Amanda Lizzette Alvear in the Pulse tragedy.

Alvear said after seven long years, she was overjoyed by the news that the city was stepping in.

“When the city announced that they wanted to acquire the club, we felt like a heavy burden had been lifted from our help. We could breathe again,” said Alvear.

All 6 Orlando City Commissioners agreed that city ownership of the property was the only way forward after seven years of failed attempts to reach an agreement.

However, commissioner Jim Gray said he believed the city was getting a bad deal on the sale.

Read: Orlando mayor shares thoughts on city’s proposal to buy Pulse nightclub property

He brought up the possibility of using eminent domain to get a better price on the property by paying “fair market value” through the court system.

“We pay the fair price. We still control it, and we can still do a memorial. But we don’t succumb to the owners who have done absolutely nothing that they promised they would do,” Gray said.

The idea was ultimately shot down, with some expressing concern for the time that process would take.

“I think we just need to move forward,” said Mayor Buddy Dyer.

“I know you want to move forward. I’m trying to look at taxpayers as a fiduciary,” replied Gray.

The city council ultimately voted to give the purchase a green light.

As the planning process began yet again, commissioners vowed to do better than the One Pulse Foundation in honoring the wishes of survivors and victims’ family members.

“If anyone has any concerns over this process. I will make myself available to answer all your concerns during a public forum,” said Commissioner Patty Sheehan.

Read: Here’s where plans for a permanent Pulse memorial, museum stand 7 years later

The mayor has said there are still several questions to be worked through regarding the design of a permanent memorial, and who would be responsible for maintenance.

He said he wants loved ones and survivors to be a part of a transparent planning process moving forward.

Dyer also said he’s looking to raise $2 million to reimburse taxpayers for the property purchase.

The deal is set to close this Friday.

Click here to download our free news, weather and smart TV apps. And click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.

Comments on this article