Trinity Broadcasting Network sells its landmark Costa Mesa campus along the 405 freeway

Orange County Register/March 3, 2017

By Marilyn Kalfus

Trinity Broadcasting Network announced Friday that it has sold its landmark campus along the 405 on Bear Street in Costa Mesa.

The sale price was not disclosed.

The organization, which bills itself as the largest Christian-based broadcast television network in the world, says the facility has become “obsolete” as the organization grows in different parts of the U.S. and the world.

TBN said it will retain its broadcasting facility in Tustin.

The network sold the 6.19-acre Costa Mesa campus to Greenlaw Partners, the commercial property developer that revamped the Triangle Square mall.

The campus houses a 65,000-square-foot, three-story building and is known for its brightly lit holiday displays. This past Christmas season, however, the lights were dim; the facility was already in negotiations, according to Nate Daniels, TBN marketing director.

The property was assessed at $41.3 million in 2016, according to CoStar Group, a commercial database. But that doesn’t correlate to the sale price, said Chuck Noble, a principal of Lee & Associates.

“It was significantly less than that assessed number,” said Noble, who along with principals Dave Hunsaker and Craig DeMiranda of Lee & Associates represented both sides of the deal.

The property originally was an office building, Noble said, and will be redeveloped and reverted to that use.

He said he didn’t know who might lease space there, but added, “The significance of that site is obviously location (and) tremendous freeway visibility for people that want identity.”

A representative for Greenlaw could not be reached for comment.

TBN bought the building in 1996 for $6 million, according to CoStar records.

Selling the property will “provide the network with new options that are targeted at millennials as well as a diverse and changing culture,” TBN Chairman Matthew Crouch said in a statement.

Daniels said TBN has been investing in studios and network infrastructure around the globe, including London, Jerusalem, and Madrid. The network also recently acquired a large production facility near Chicago.

Daniels said Trinity is not experiencing financial difficulties.

In 2016, a Register review of its tax filings showed Trinity’s revenue took a precipitous dive, from $207 million in 2006 to $121.5 million in 2014.

The company spent millions more than it took in for six straight years, according to the story. In 2014, revenue was $121.5 million but Trinity spent $162.6 million.

Trinity’s net assets – what’s left after liabilities are subtracted from assets – were a help, the story said. But that nest egg shrank from a high of $857.9 million in 2009 to $755.8 million in 2014.

TBN Founder Paul Crouch – who said he heard God tell him to start a Christian TV network nearly 40 years ago – died in 2013. His wife and co-founder, Jan Crouch, died in May 2016.

Through the years, family disputes had led to public feuds and lawsuits, and the empire wound up in the hands of the Crouches' younger son Matthew.

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