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SIMI VALLEY : City Buys Church to Serve as Arts Center

Simi Valley officials announced Friday that they have closed escrow on a historic church that the city wants to convert into an arts center.

The city purchased the vacant building, located on a 1.4-acre parcel at 3050 Los Angeles Ave., for $820,000, city officials said. The two-story building was constructed as a Methodist Church in 1924 and is registered as a Ventura County Historical landmark. Over the years, the building also served as a mortuary and a Jewish temple.

Simi Valley businessman Bob Mitchell purchased the building in 1986 for $650,000. However, his plans to convert it into a wedding chapel never materialized, and he has been trying to sell it ever since.

The city intends to use the facility for theater productions, concerts and visual arts exhibitions, officials said. Remodeling and conversion of the building is expected to take two to three years and cost an estimated $2 million.

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“The old Methodist Church has played an important role in our community,” Mayor Greg Stratton said in a prepared statement. “We’ve been able to hit two birds with one stone: historical preservation and cultural arts. I think it’s a cost-effective approach.”


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