Plans to turn a former sailors' refuge into a Church of Scientology headquarters have caused uproar.
The religious order with star converts such as Tom Cruise and Peaches Geldof has bought the Royal Fleet Hotel in Plymouth for £1million.
Queen Victoria was its patron on a former site before it opened in 1902 as the Devonport Royal Sailors' Home.
Owner Kailash Suri, 55, sold it last month and the church will take control on Tuesday.
Falklands War veteran Doug Dale, 60, said: "I've never heard anything so ridiculous. They should have chosen something far more suitable for such a historic building."
A local ex-church member, who did not want to be named, said: "All it will do is fleece the gullible."
But spokesman Graeme Wilson said: "The majority have been supportive."