The owner of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the site of the deadliest shooting in U.S. history, has opted to step away from a proposed $2.25 million deal that would have sold the venue to the city, who in turn would create a memorial on the property.
In a statement released Monday, Barbara Poma, the owner of Pulse, said she decided to withdraw from the sale of the Pulse property because “Pulse means so very much to my family and to our community, and I can’t just walk away.”
“I feel a personal obligation to ensure that a permanent space at Pulse be created so that all generations to come will remember those affected by, and taken on, June 12th,” Poma said, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Poma’s goals for the property seem to mirror that of the city of Orlando, who planned 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,” as Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer said in November when the sale was agreed upon.
A month after the mass shooting, the owners of Pulse initially announced they would reopen the venue as a memorial, only to recant that statement soon after.
“I intend to create a space for everyone, a sanctuary of hope, and a welcoming area to remember all those affected by the tragedy,” Poma said Monday. “I plan to do that directly with the involvement of the communities impacted by this tragedy, the families of the victims and any private or public sector individuals or organizations who wish to assist. We must do this together as a community.”
Poma opened Pulse in 2004 as a tribute to her brother John, who was afflicted by AIDS and died in 1991.
Following Poma’s decision, the city of Orlando issued a statement. “We understand that this was an incredibly difficult decision for the owners,” the city’s statement said. “We respect their decision and are hopeful the Pulse site continues to be a place of hope and healing that honors the victims.”