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OC Catholic Diocese, Chapman University Battling For Crystal Cathedral

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GARDEN GROVE (CBS) — The battle over the bankrupt Crystal Cathedral heated up Monday with two major bidders going to court to get ownership.

The Orange County Catholic Diocese looks at the Crystal Cathedral property as the next step for growth. Chapman University sees it for the educational value.

Both sides are locked in a fierce bidding war in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Crystal Cathedral Campus in Garden Grove.

Orlando Zubiate has been following the case. He lives in Utah and spends vacations with his family looking at cathedrals around the world.

“This is so modern, I thought, I really wanted to see it before it changes hands,” Zubiate said.

Both the University and Diocese argued their case to buy the property out of bankruptcy. The one-day hearing did not finish on time and will continue on Thursday in Federal Court.

Chapman University wants to use the campus to expand their medical and pharmaceutical schools.

The Catholic Diocese wants to use the property as their headquarters. Over the weekend the Diocese increased its offer to $57.5 million.

The deal covers an annual annuity to Crystal Cathedral founder Robert Schuller and his wife.

Their congregation could rent and stay in the cathedral for three years, then move to a nearby existing catholic church.

This morning in court Chapman University kept their offer at $51.5 million, but would rent the cathedral to the congregation for one dollar a month.

After 15 years the congregation would have the option to buy back the property.

Whatever happens, Zubiate said he hoped the tranquil feel of the campus would remain unchanged.

“It’s amazing, stunning, you know, I appreciate the beauty that is here.”

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