The San Diego Union-Tribune | Aging Mission Valley hotel closes; Father Joe’s gets the furnishings

As San Diego televangelist Morris Cerullo prepares to transform his now closed Mission Valley hotel into an 18-acre, religious-themed resort, he has removed all the furnishings and kitchen equipment and donated them to Father Joe’s Villages.

The 202-room Mission Valley Resort closed last month, with the expectation that Cerullo’s planned Legacy International Center will likely win approval from the San Diego City Council later this month.

Nightstands, beds, dressers and televisions sets from the hotel’s 202 rooms were delivered to the longtime homeless charity, along with tables and chairs from the conference center, and commercial kitchen equipment.

“If you could unbolt it and walk it out the door, they took it,” said Jim Penner, executive director of the Legacy International Center. “Dr. Cerullo and I talked on and off about the tremendous homeless crisis in San Diego, and he was saying, do you think Father Joe’s could use all this furniture and equipment?

“They were thrilled to receive it.”

Father Joe’s expects to incorporate some of the furniture into its housing complexes, while others will be sold through their retail outlets, which include two thrift stores, a furniture warehouse and a daily auction.”

“As Legacy International Center launches in San Diego, we are excited to see the project leaders considering the role they can play in addressing our region’s homelessness crisis,” said Deacon Jim F. Vargas, president of Father Joe’s Villages. “By donating the contents of the current Mission Valley Resort to Father Joe’s Villages, the Legacy International Center will start off making a valuable investment that will help us transform more lives.”

The City Council is scheduled to consider on Sept. 18 Cerullo’s plans for his $160 million retreat, which will include a hotel, restaurants and spa, plus religious-themed attractions like a replica of the Wailing Wall, Roman catacombs and a domed theater that will show 4D Biblical-themed films.

The site of the former Mission Valley Resort is now fenced off so that hazardous materials abatement work can get under way. If the council approves the project, Penner says construction should commence by November.

Cerullo’s religious organization purchased the hotel out of foreclosure nearly six years ago.

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