The Church of Scientology has firmly made Clearwater, Florida its home in the blink of an eye - shelling out $103million to sweep up 101 acres of the city's waterfront downtown area over the course of three years.
The controversial church first landed in Clearwater in 1975 with one hotel property to its name, but the organization had elaborate plans to spread its reach across the entire downtown area.
In just three years, starting with a frantic land grab in January 2017, Scientology doubled its footprint in the city.
Following a fallout with the City Council, Scientologists started to buy downtown property - $103million worth to be exact - at an unprecedented rate and now the church and its members own 185 properties that cover 101 acres of downtown.
The church now completely controls the heart of the city, save for a few condominium tower and buildings owned by the government, the Tampa Bay Times discovered after reviewing 1,000 deeds and business records, shocking city leaders and residents at the scope of the church’s dominance.