On Thursday, July 20, the onePulse Foundation officially announced that it would not renew its lease for the Pulse Nightclub property in the SoDo District.
The foundation had previously announced in May 2023 that it would be building its official memorial to the Pulse Nightclub victims offsite, citing an inability to settle on terms for the sale of the property. At that time, Bungalower learned that the original Temporary Use Permit for the current interim memorial had already expired in 2022. The foundation will be handing over all operations of the interim memorial, including the t-shirt kiosk, to the Pomas.
The City of Orlando has previously shared with Bungalower that they were waiting for an update from the foundation on what they would be doing at the site and would not be pursuing any fines against them for remaining on the property for the forseeable future, outside of the TUP window.
Since the foundation’s recent announcement that the foundation would not be renewing its lease, two of the three property owners, Barbara and Rosario Poma, have shared their own statement.
“It is disappointing that the onePULSE Foundation has chosen to completely abdicate all of its responsibilities to the existing and future memorial rather than pursue a collaborative approach to find a thoughtful transition for the site management. We will evaluate the status of the property to determine the next steps.”– BARBARA AND ROSARIO POMA
Barbara Poma, the co-owner of Pulse Nightclub and figurehead of the foundation since its launch in 2016, stepped down from the foundation in April, in a move that was seen as a way to push negotiations forward in order to sell the property to the foundation without a clear conflict of interest.
According to a report by Michelle Imperato for WESH 2, Poma and her husband along with their business partner Michael Panaggio, were looking to sell the property for $2.5 million, but they refused to share a statement about the foundation’s new plans to build the memorial somewhere else now that negotiations had faltered.
The City of Orlando has expressed no interest in purchasing the property, which was declared a National memorial site in 2021, though the original club building has been mostly untouched since the shootings and is not suitable for occupation at this time.
OnePulse will pay the monthly operating costs the site through the end of August.
According to the Orange County Property Appraiser’s website, the land was valued at $385,000 in 2022.