Pulse Nightclub shooting property to be sold to City of Orlando, future plans unknown, officials say

The City of Orlando has reached an agreement with the owners of the Pulse Nightclub to purchase the property which is the site of one of the nation's deadliest mass shootings.

City Commissioner Patty Sheehan confirmed the city's intentions to FOX 35 News on Wednesday.

Commissioners will vote on the purchase at their meeting on Monday, and if passed, they hope to close the deal on Oct. 27. Sheehan says no one on the commission has been vocally opposed to the deal. The proposed purchase price is $2 million.

The city has spoken to families of Pulse victims and believes the city is in the right position to handle the site in a sensitive fashion and give them a resolution after seven years of waiting to see what will happen to the property. It remains unclear what exactly the city has planned for the property. The site, which honors the 49 people killed, continues to draw several visitors each year.

"We recently had the opportunity to meet with and listen to some of the family members of the victims, as well as survivors," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer in a statement sent to FOX 35. "They expressed their strong desire for a lasting memorial to be located on the Pulse site. The hurt and pain they shared – now more than seven years since the tragedy – only solidified our belief that the 49 angels deserve a permanent memorial on the Pulse site."

Plans for a permanent memorial on the nightclub property fell through when the onePULSE foundation was unable to reach an agreement with Pulse owner and onePULSE founder Barbara Poma, her husband, Rosario Poma, and their business partner, Michael Panaggio, the foundation said earlier this year. 

The nonprofit foundation, established to create a permanent Pulse memorial and museum, had been at odds with Poma on where to build the complex. 

The foundation said it had previously planned to build a national memorial on the grounds of the Pulse Nightclub. In the months following the shooting on June 12, 2016, the nightclub property had been turned into an interim memorial lined with photographs of the victims and rainbow-colored flowers and mementos. 

In July, the foundation announced it terminated its lease of the property on S. Orange Ave.  

"In the interest of solving challenges in a way that brings our community together in love, acceptance, and partnership, which is the enduring legacy of Pulse, we have decided to purchase the land from its current owners," Mayor Dyer added. "We believe that this is the best and most appropriate way to expedite the creation of a proper memorial for the Pulse tragedy."

"We are thankful to the City of Orlando for ensuring that the National Pulse Memorial will be located at the Pulse nightclub site, which was always the hope of families of the 49 victims and the Pulse-impacted community," said Deborah Bowie, the foundation's executive director. "We look forward to being a part of the discussion with the City of Orlando as this moves forward." 

Commissioner Sheehan said the item will be added to the city agenda on Wednesday, Oct. 25.