City of Orlando May Buy Pulse Nightclub

Pulse nightclub memorial. Photo by Walter (walterpro on Flickr). CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)

The city of Orlando is considering buying Pulse Nightclub for $2.25 million, with plans to construct a memorial on the site.

The vote on purchasing the property, originally intended for Nov 14, has been postponed until Dec 5.

Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer posted on his Facebook page on Nov 9 that “with [the city of Orlando] owning the property, we can engage in a public process to determine the future of the Pulse property and building.”

In August, Dyer hinted at the city buying the property, telling the local WMFE Orlando radio station, “I think the city needs to gain control [or] purchase the Pulse site and then make some determination, with a lot of input, on what a permanent memorial may look like.”

Pulse is a the site of a gay nightclub in Orlando where, in June, a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 56 others. The shooting was the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history.

On the decision to postpone the vote, Dyer said more time was needed to plan a future memorial.

Some city commissioners were intending to vote no on buying the property due to its high price tag compared to its worth. The club was appraised at $1.7 million, 30 percent lower than what the city intends to pay for it.

I was going to vote ‘no’ because I was not going to allow for somebody to capitalize on such a tragedy,” said one city commissioner, Tony Ortiz. “I don’t see no honor in capitalizing on a tragedy like this. What kind of good are we doing to our LGBT community?”

Another commissioner, Patty Sheehan, told the local Orlando ABC affiliate she believed the hesitation to buy the property was not due to the price, but to discrimination.

“I think that it’s just discrimination. I think that people don’t want to build a memorial,” said Sheehan.

The owner of the nightclub, Barbara Poma, released a statement saying, “Since the day of this terrible tragedy, my commitment has been that the heart of Pulse nightclub keep beating and now we can all be assured that will happen.”

Poma intends to be involved with planning the memorial.

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