ORANGE ( — One of the most prominent universities in Orange County is about to expand to Irvine.

KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reports officials at Chapman University are moving forward after losing out on a bid for the Crystal Cathedral property.

The university has purchased a $20 million office and laboratory complex as part of a total $44 million expansion of its graduate health sciences program in the school’s first move outside the city of Orange.

The new 166,413-square-foot complex located at Jeronimo Road and Alton Parkwaywill will offer courses in pharmacy, physical therapy and eventually physician assistant programs.

University spokeswoman Mary Platt said a decision was made to branch out to Irvine after Chapman was outbid by the Catholic church in the purchase of the Crystal Cathedral back in November of last year.

Chapman had even offered to pay off up to $59 million in debt owed by Crystal Cathedral to secure the property, but a judge ultimately ruled that the Catholic diocese was better positioned to re-capitalize the megachurch founded by Robert H. Schuller in 1961.

“This is actually a better deal for us than Crystal Cathedral would have been…that was a much more expensive property and had a cathedral in the middle of it,” said Platt. “This one is going to be buildings that are specifically built for laboratory space.”

The new complex is scheduled to open by 2014.


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