• Some business owners worry eminent domain will claim their property for Pulse memorial

    By: Jason Kelly , Lauren Seabrook

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - At least two people who own businesses near the shuttered Pulse nightclub said they will not sell their property for a proposed permanent memorial, museum and parking lot.

    Channel 9 reported Friday that the onePULSE Foundation will receive $10 million in tourism taxes for the project, which could span three city blocks at West Kaley Street and South Orange Avenue.

    "Imagine if merely 1 percent of those visitors in the Orlando region came to Pulse," club owner Barbara Poma said Friday during a Tourist Development Council meeting. "That would mean 720,000 visitors a year -- an average of 1,900 a day."

    Read: See what the permanent Pulse memorial, museum could look like

    The organization said it seeks to purchase nine neighboring properties for the project, but not everyone is on board.

    The owner of Pro Tint Orlando, a window tinting and detailing business, said no one has approached him about buying his property, and he has no intention of selling it.

    Representatives for a same-day surgery center that also owns an adjacent field said they do not plan to sell their property.

    Read: Pulse victim's mother on FBI ballistics report: 'The public has to know'

    The foundation said it also seeks to purchase Orlando Fire Station 5 for the project.

    The city of Orlando said it has engaged in preliminary discussions with the foundation about acquiring the property, but it said the discussions have been exploratory in nature and that it would be premature to make a final decision about a possible sale.

    Some business owners told Channel 9 they are still trying to recover from losses in the days after the massacre. And some area residents said they fear the project could turn hallowed ground into a tourist attraction.

    The business owners are worried that if they refuse to sell, the city may force them to using eminent domain. 

    While the onePulse Foundation does not have the authority to use eminent domain to acquire the property, attorney Edgar Lopez said it's not so black and white, given the tourist tax money involved in the project. 

    "Where the money comes from and what it's being used for is certainly something that must be looked at in order to determine whether it's indeed for a public purpose," said Lopez. 

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