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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

St Petersburg Times Article On Slow Ave Maria Town Sales

Here is an interesting article from the St. Petersburg Times about the sluggish real estate market in Ave Maria Town. Some excerpts:
Ave Maria's projected population of more than 20,000 stands at about 500. Pulte Homes, the community's builder, has slashed $100,000 from the prices on some models.
Remember, the primary reason the law school decided to move to Florida is for the money that was to be derived from this real estate deal.
If you're not a serious buyer, the Pulte sales staff is standoffish. It's several minutes before anyone responds to a visitor at the front desk, and the reception, once it comes, is cool. "We've got to be careful. You never know if people are who they say they are," said a young male office receptionist in the sales center.
That is a very strange comment by the receptionist. I'm truly curious: why would they have to be careful?
The reception is more gracious at the office of Ave Maria Development, overseer of the entire project. Asked about Monaghan's plans, staffer Kelly Guarascio said, "His museum's downstairs." What unfolds to the visitor is a combination religious shrine and paean to the capitalist spirit.
In the back is a row of chairs from Tiger Stadium, home of the Detroit Tigers. Monaghan used to own the Major League Baseball franchise. Domino's Pizza memorabilia, including the trademark bag used to keep pizzas hot, hang on the wall. A bust of the late Pope John Paul II smiles on photos of Monaghan shaking hands with the pope and Mother Teresa. A "celebrant's chair," in which the pope said Mass during a visit to Michigan, holds pride of place.
Great, Monaghan has his own museum.
Monaghan's credo stares down from a display: "I believe my mission is to get as many people to heaven as possible."
Then why does Monaghan insist on making so many people upset with him?