Houston’s City Council voted 13-2 yesterday to sell the former Compaq Center to the nation’s largest megachurch for a grand total of $7.5 million dollars. Sure, that’s considerably less than the $22.6 million the city would have received for a 30-year extension of Lakewood Church’s current lease on what used to be homecourt of the Houston Rockets. But the city wouldn’t see the beginning of that income stream for 24 years, and it might be a full 54 years before the city could get the building and those 7 acres of Greenway Plaza land back — presuming either is worth anything at all by then. And really, who’s even going to want to be around this city in 2064?
That $7.5 million isn’t exactly chump change, either. If each of the church’s approximately 43,500 weekly visitors throws a dollar into one of those collection buckets, it’ll take them all of 3 and a half years just to pay the darn thing off!
But did the city even have a choice in the matter?
Where else to look for an answer that question, but from the man who has now clearly earned his rightful place in the pantheon of Houston property leasing, sales, and acquisition mavens, Lakewood Church pastor Joel Osteen? In his latest book of real estate and related advice, It’s Your Time: Activate Your Faith, Achieve Your Dreams, and Increase in God’s Favor, Osteen explains:
. . . this one blessed opportunity — acquiring the Compaq Center — thrust our ministry probably fifty years further down the road. As far as reaching people, as far as credibility, that one event did more than I could do in my whole lifetime in my own effort.
This was planned before the foundation of time. I met a man who helped design the Compaq Center; he was one of the original engineers. He explained that way back in the sixties, he laid out the entry and exit ramps of the freeway to flow perfectly into this building. He worked with the city to time all the traffic lights so people could get in and out of the center quickly.
As he spoke, I thought about how good God is: Forty years ago he had people working on our behalf!
My friend, God has it all planned out.
- City Council OKs sale of ex-Compaq to Lakewood [Houston Chronicle]
- It’s Your Time: Activate Your Faith, Achieve Your Dreams, and Increase in God’s Favor [Amazon.com]
- Previously on Swamplot: More Real Estate Wisdom from Joel Osteen: Let Them Get Comfortable with the Transaction, and Show Them My Smiling Face, Real Estate Lessons from Joel Osteen and Lakewood Church: It Is Better To Lease, Then To Buy, Your Best Deal Now: Will Lakewood Buy Its Own Church?
- Joel Osteen coverage [Swamplot]