Chapman University has offered a $46 million bid for the Crystal Cathedral and surrounding property.
School president Jim Doti said the university would build a school of health sciences on the property. That would include space for classes such as veterinary medicine and a pharmacy school.
The open bidding process for the 30-acre campus was announced in June after a federal bankrupcty court hearing. Crystal Cathedral Ministries filed for Chapter 11 bankrupcty in October.
Under Chapman's offer, the church would be able to lease back the cathedral, cemetery and other campus buildings for $150,000 per month for 15 years. Chapman also wants to acquire the Welcome Center and Family Life Center, which would provide office space for the university.
The Chapman bid is competing with one from Greenlaw Acquisitions, an Orange County real estate developer that intends to build homes on the property, according to court papers in the bankruptcy case.
"I really believe an educational branch of Chapman University on the property is more in keeping with Crystal Cathedral's campus,'' Chapman University President James Doti said.
Doti said Crystal Cathedral founder the Rev. Robert H. Schuller also refers to the property as a campus.
"It's such a beautiful, iconic property in Orange County and it would really be sad to see it surrounded by more density,'' Doti said. "Our plans don't call for any more development han is already there.''
The offer is subject to the approval of a bankruptcy judge.
It's the second offer to be made on the property. The first was from a group of investors that wanted to build apartment buildings.