2010/10/21/Hobby Lobby's religious real estate hobby

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In 2004 the Greens bought an old Ericsson cellphone plant in Lynchburg, Va., for $10.5 million and gave it to Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, which built a new law school on the site. A couple of years later they paid a New York hedge fund $3.5 million for the buildings and grounds of bankrupt Bradford College in Haverill, Mass., invested more than $5 million in renovations, and late last year turned over the deed to Zion Bible College.

Sometimes they buy on behalf of churches. Last spring Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback megachurch in Orange County, Calif., phoned the Greens to say that he was planning an Easter Service for 50,000 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, and did they want to contribute something to the gift bag for worshipers? Oh, and by the way: Warren was looking at a piece of property in nearby San Juan Capistrano belonging to televangelist Robert Schuller's financially strapped Crystal Cathedral Ministries. It's 140 acres, he said. Just half an hour's drive from Saddleback's main sanctuary. Really an extraordinary opportunity. "Well," said Green, "you need to let us look at it." They looked, they liked, they paid $22 million, and now Saddleback has a new retreat center.

Oral Roberts University, in Tulsa, already had a perfectly nice campus when the Greens showed up there in 2008. It was, however, staggering under the strain of a rip-roaring sex-and-embezzlement scandal that had so drained its coffers that ORU was weeks away from having to close its doors. "We just grieved for those kids," says Green. "We felt like we were being led by the Lord to do something." What they did was hand over $70 million in cash. And that was "just a down payment," says Green, sighing; he's still writing checks. Not blank ones, though. The ORU board of regents had to agree to implement a strict recovery plan devised by the Greens, and to install Mart as its new chairman.</p>

AuthorDavid Whitford +
Page typeLink +
SiteCNN +
Summary"But real estate -- that's the fun part. B
"But real estate -- that's the fun part. By the time the Greens closed on the Northfield campus late last year, the previous owners had grown weary of spending millions on annual upkeep and the price had come way down. They got the core of the campus -- 48 buildings and 217 acres, without the surrounding woodlands -- for $100,000."
he surrounding woodlands -- for $100,000." +
Thing typeArticle +
TitleHobby Lobby's religious real estate hobby +
Title/shortHobby Lobby's religious real estate hobby +
TopicHobby Lobby +, Real estate +, Oral Roberts University + and Saddleback Church +
When postedOctober 21, 2010 +
"URL" is a type and predefined property provided by Semantic MediaWiki to represent URI/URL values.
http://money.cnn.com/2010/10/21/news/companies/hobby lobby philanthropy.fortune/index.htm +