Televangelist Plans $125M Christian Resort, Theme Park
Four years after purchasing a bankrupt Mission Valley hotel, San Diego televangelist Morris Cerullo, 84, is pouring $125M into renovations to reposition it as a Christian-themed resort and tourist destination.
The Pentacostal preacher’s Morris Cerullo World Evangelism ministry believes the resort’s entertainments will attract up to 400,000 visitors by offering them a time-travel experience back to the Holy Land and Rome during Biblical times. Called the Legacy International Center, the project aims to cement Cerullo’s legacy and preserve his teachings. Here's Legacy International Center as envisioned by Morris Cerullo World Evangelism ministry.
The project features catacomb passages with hologram-filled tombs; a 20-foot-tall Wailing Wall reminiscent of Jerusalem’s Western Wall; an interactive Biblical museum; and a domed theater, with full-motion seats and sensory effects that simulate wind, snow and fog. The project also includes an 8,200 SF Central Plaza marketplace, the centerpiece of the development, with vendors from around the world; a 105k SF pavilion with a learning center, TV studio, gift shops, restaurants and a spa; the five-story Legacy Village timeshare complex, with 127 guest suites, a tennis court and a lagoon pool; and a 21k SF executive office building, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
The project’s interactive museum, bazaar-style marketplace, catacombs and History Dome Theater will be created by Visioneering Studios, which is composed of former Disney special effects pros. If approved by the SD City Council, Legacy Center will launch a capital campaign to finance the project, without incurring debt.
Gary London, a local real estate consultant hired to analyze the project’s potential, says the 127 guest timeshares, spa and retail components would generate $86M in revenue annually, enough to sustain operations. The project may break ground later this year, with completion in late 2017 or early 2018. [SDUT]