Faith Deliverance Temple sells church property to Orlando City Soccer Club

Exploria Stadium and the Faith Deliverance Temple have stood side-by-side for years. The City of Orlando tried to acquire the small piece of land for the soccer stadium in 2014, and failed. 

Now, the church leaders have finally sold the property to the Orlando City Soccer Club for nearly $3.5 million.

When the city couldn't use the land for the soccer stadium, they were forced to build it a block west of the original plan. Realtor John Michael from The Pink Team Real Estate, who helped broker the deal, said the owners thought now was the right time to sell. "They reached out to me and they were like, hey, we think it's time to sell, we want to make new plans, and we kind of put things in motion."

In early 2014, the city tried to buy the land from the church for almost double the appraised $695,000 for the property. At the time, the church asked for $35 million, about 50 times more than the appraised value. The city refused. 

Later that year, the city tried to acquire the property through eminent domain, which also failed. But John Michael said earlier this year, the city contacted him. "The City of Orlando reached out to us surprisingly out of nowhere, one of their representatives reached out to me about the property before it hit the market and we just took it from there," he said.

Orlando City released this statement: "Faith Deliverance Temple has served our community well, and we're appreciative of their commitment to working with us on the sale of their property. At this time, the Club does not have immediate plans for the building or the land, but we are exploring options for the future, including how we could use it to further enhance our game day activations, fan experience and connectivity to Exploria Stadium."

Commissioner Regina Hill represents the district, and says the team has given the neighborhood a boost. "Rather they had acquired ownership of the church or not, they have shown themselves and proven themselves caring about the health and wellness of that community."

Real estate expert Terrence Hart said retail space and a new parking garage for fans could be part of development on the property. "We need retail downtown. So it could be clothing, apparel, soft goods, or maybe restaurant services. It could be a mixture of tenants to help support the soccer team on game days."