The city of Orlando announced plans to buy the Pulse nightclub, site of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. It will transform the venue into a memorial to the 49 people killed in the massacre.
Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer confirmed to the Orlando Sentinel that the city agreed to purchase the property for $2.25 million, adding that he hopes to "create something to honor the memory of the victims that are deceased [and] those that were injured, and a testament to the resilience of our community."
The city, already a tourist destination thanks to theme parks like Disney World and Universal Studios, has seen an influx of visitors to the Pulse nightclub site since the June 2016 shooting that targeted the LGBT community. "There are lots of people that are making a visit to the site part of their trip, part of their experience of Orlando, so I think 12 to 18 months of leaving it as-is would be appropriate," Dyer said. The Pulse nightclub has remained empty since the June 12th shooting.
In August, the owners of the Pulse nightclub announced on social media that they would convert the venue into a memorial. However, a rep for the owners soon recanted that claim and said there were no plans to reopen Pulse as a memorial. A month later, the city removed the chain-link fencing that surrounded the Pulse nightclub and replaced it with a new barrier that allowed artists to remember those killed in the shooting.
Another issue that concerned city officials leading up to venue's purchase was securing the site, which remained private property after the shooting. "Now, we can actually secure it like we would any other piece of city property," Dyer said.