ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -
Negotiations between the City of Orlando and the Faith Deliverance Temple over the last piece of land needed to build a Major League Soccer stadium in downtown are not going well, according to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. A source at City Hall tells FOX 35 there was originally some hope a deal would get done, but the mayor does not see much chance at that deal now.
"My understanding of the proposal from the church is they're back at wanting $35 million."
Faith Deliverance Temple originally asked for $35 million in documents obtained by FOX 35 for a small piece of land on West Church Street that is valued at $690,000. Mayor Dyer says going back to that original number has broken down the negotiations.
"We are going to leave that door open, but we're going to have to go ahead and continue or pursue opportunities to have the court determine what the value of the property is."
Going to court to try and take the land via eminent domain could cause a backlash for the city, but Mayor Dyer does not believe that backlash will come.
"We really haven't had much of a 'PR' backlash. I actually visited with a lot of people in the faith community, and the idea that city government with taxpayer dollars would pay $35 million to any organization for a $700,000 piece of property doesn't really set well with very many people."
Orlando has offered $1.5 million for the property and have said they are willing to go higher if that is what it takes to get a deal. Instead, the mayor believes he has little choice about what will happen next.
"We have not filed eminent domain, but I do anticipate we will move forward with that."
The Faith Deliverance Temple did not respond for this story. In an eminent domain hearing, a judge would first rule on whether the city could take the land. If so, that judge would simply decide the value of the property and the church would be forced to take that amount. Orlando City Soccer has already announced that they will wait until the 2016 season to play soccer in their new stadium.