A church in bankruptcy proceedings has put its prime Sunset Boulevard property near downtown Los Angeles on the market for $55 million.
Housing developers are expected to make bids on the 5.3-acre campus that was the headquarters of the Metropolitan Water District before the church acquired it in the 1990s. A high-rise office building on the site has already been converted to upscale apartments with views of the downtown skyline.
Now the neglected-looking land and buildings next to it are being sold by Holy Hill Community Church, which no longer holds services at the 1111 Sunset Blvd. property.
Debt and litigation "has really bogged the church down," said Richard Laski, the court-appointed trustee representing Holy Hill in its reorganization under Chapter 11 of federal bankruptcy laws.
The old MWD campus with more than 110,000 square feet of buildings including a chapel is not well-suited for a church, but it is valuable, Laski said.
"The property is worth more than they owe," he said, "but they don't have enough cash flow to pay the debts they have. We expect all creditors to be paid in full."
It's almost certain that the site will be turned into apartments or condominiums by its new owners, real estate broker Michael Shustak of CBRE Group Inc. said
"I think there is a 95% chance it will be housing with a small amount of retail," said Shustak, who represents the sellers. The site is zoned for up to 576 units, he said.
The MWD campus was designed in the early 1960s by architect William Pereira and has seen many changes over the years. An eight-story tower there completed in 1971 is now a 96-unit apartment building called the Elysian that opened this year. The Elysian is not for sale.
In the 19th century, the oval-shaped parcel where the former MWD headquarters lies was Beaudry Park and later Sisters Hospital.