The owner of Pulse Nightclub has decided not to sell the property to the city of Orlando for memorial purposes.
Pulse was the site of a mass shooting on June 12, which killed 49 people and injured 53 more.
On Dec 5, Barbara Poma put out a statement explaining her decision to rescind the offer to sell the club for $2.25 million.
“I have decided not to sell the Pulse property. Pulse means so very much to my family and to our community, and I can’t just walk away. I feel a personal obligation to ensure that a permanent space at Pulse be created so that all generations to come will remember those affected by, and taken on, June 12. I intend to create a space for everyone, a sanctuary of hope and a welcoming area to remember all those affected by the tragedy,” the statement read.
In November, Poma had worked out a deal with the city of Orlando to sell the nightclub, but it needed to be voted on by city commissioners – some of whom were hesitant over the price.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who has been an outspoken voice of encouragement for the sale and ensuing memorial, said he had no qualms with Poma’s decision not to sell.
“We understand that this was an incredibly difficult decision for the owners and we respect their decision and are hopeful the Pulse site continues to be a place of hope and healing that honors the victims,” Dyer wrote in a statement released via Twitter Monday.
According to Dyer, the city may still have plans to build a memorial in a different location, but will wait until Poma’s plans have become more finalized.
City Commissioner Patty Sheehan said she believes the city “messed the deal up”, according to a reporter for the local ABC news affiliate.
The city originally intended to vote on the purchase on Nov 14 but pushed the date to Monday and Sheehan said they “should have voted to buy it and not pull it from the agenda a month ago.”
“This decision truly came from my heart and my passion for Pulse. I think the struggle was, you know, letting it go and it was something I just couldn’t come to grips with,” Poma said.