Lakewood to Buy Arena

Lakewood Church is poised to buy the former Compaq Center, which it has been leasing from the city of Houston, for $7.5 million. The city is hoping to close a lingering budget shortfall with the real estate deal, and the church is looking to hold on to a property it has invested nearly $80 million into renovating.

Lakewood, the largest church in the country, has been leasing the arena since 2001, when it signed a 30-year lease under the name of Joel Osteen, its pastor. Since then, the church has turned the former home of the Houston Rockets into a full blown sanctuary, including laying down a concrete floor where the basketball court once was and installing a state-of-the-art stage and multimedia setup.

Donald Iloff, spokesman for Lakewood, said the church wanted to “be its own landlord.” [, 3/22/10]

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