Orlando Buys Pulse Nightclub, Plans to Turn It Into Memorial for Shooting Victims
Update 11/10: Billboard has received an official statement from the City of Orlando regarding the purchase of the Pulse nightclub site:
On November 14, 2016 the Orlando City Council will vote to purchase Pulse nightclub at 1912 S. Orange Avenue, the site of our nation’s worst mass shooting. The City and the owner of Pulse have agreed to a purchase price of $2.25 million. If the City Council votes to approve the land purchase on November 14, City staff will complete a due diligence period which includes review of the land survey, title and environmental of the site. Following this period, the parties have agreed to close on or before December 30, 2016.
There is not currently a timeline for a memorial.
“This location is now a permanent part of Orlando’s history, it’s the site of the most tragic event that has ever occurred in the City of Orlando,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “We want our entire community to be a part of this site. With the City owning the property, we can engage in a public process to determine the future of the Pulse property and building.”
Original Story: The worst mass shooting in U.S. history occurred June 12, 2016, when a gunman opened fire on patrons of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 and wounding dozens more. The club has remained closed since then, having nonetheless become a regular gathering place for mourners and those looking to pay tribute to the victims.
This week, the Orlando Sentinel reports that the club's home city will be buying Pulse, in order to transform the site into a full-fledged memorial for those slain and wounded in the June tragedy. Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer is quoted as saying that the city's main goal in purchasing the site is to "create something to honor the memory of the victims that are deceased [and] those that were injured, and a testament to the resilience of our community."
Such changes to the club will not be enacted anytime soon, as Dyer tells the paper that the city wishes to keep Pulse as it currently looks for the next year or so, in deference to those making a pilgrimage to the club to grieve. "There are lots of people that are making a visit to the site part of their trip, part of their experience of Orlando, so I think 12 to 18 months of leaving it as-is would be appropriate," Dyer says.
The Sentinel cites the $1.65 million appraised value of the club as lower than the amount city staff ultimately negotiated to pay for the site and reports that the contract of sale was officially signed by co-owner Rosario Poma last Friday (Nov. 4).