Advertisement

Silver Lake church-to-hotel conversion is latest casualty of Katy Perry convent lawsuit

Silver Lake church-to-hotel conversion is latest casualty of Katy Perry convent lawsuit
Pilgrim Church in Silver Lake is slated for sale by local developer Dana Hollister. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

The developer behind an effort to convert a vacant Presbyterian Church in the heart of Silver Lake into a 25-room boutique hotel is selling her stake in the project a year after losing a high-profile legal battle with pop singer Katy Perry and the Los Angeles Archdiocese over a former convent in Los Feliz.

Restaurateur Dana Hollister was hit with a pair of multimillion-dollar judgments after a downtown Los Angeles jury determined she had intentionally interfered with Perry’s attempt to buy a former convent from the archdiocese.

Advertisement

The nuns who used to live in the convent had sold the property to Hollister, but the archdiocese objected to the sale, saying it alone had the right to sell the property — and it wanted to sell to Perry.

A jury found that Hollister intentionally interfered with the singer’s attempts to buy the property.

Hollister filed for bankruptcy a few months after the ruling and now is selling off some of her assets, according to court records. She owes Perry’s company, Bird’s Nest, and the archdiocese $6.5 million, court records show.

Hollister said she sold her Echo Park diner, Alexander’s Brite Spot, this year to the owners of Ostrich Farm, a nearby restaurant.

The next item slated for sale is Pilgrim Church, the focal point of a long-gestating plan in which Hollister aimed to convert the church near Griffith Park and Sunset boulevards in Silver Lake into a boutique hotel.

The project has had it its own circuitous path through city bureaucracy.

Hollister worked for several years to win permission from the city so the new hotel would be allowed to sell alcohol and allow dancing. Some neighbors opposed the project, complaining that hotel patrons and public dancing would bring too much noise and revelry to the area.

A zoning administrator shot down the plan for booze and dancing before a city planning commission overturned the decision on appeal. The church-to-hotel conversion — complete with alcohol sales — ultimately was given the green light in 2014.

Hollister’s 40-year ground lease with the Presbytery of the Pacific, which includes a nearby parking lot, is now up for grabs. The clock does not start running on the lease until a certificate of occupancy is issued.

The approval to convert the property ideally would attract operators with experience running high-end boutique hotels, said Michael Shustak of CBRE Group Inc., the broker representing the seller.

He said the vibe of the hotel could be similar to the relatively small and swanky Chateau Marmont in Hollywood or Hotel Covell on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Feliz.

“You are talking about a very high-end operator,” he said. “It is all about theater. It has to be very hip, very cool. Not that many people can do this.”

The lease is expected to sell for $4.5 million to $5 million, Shustak said.

Hollister said she is excited to see the project move closer to fruition — even if it is without her.

Advertisement

“It is one of the most fantastical projects out there. It is a dream project,” she said. “I am truly happy that it is going to find its way. It is a heartbreaking thing for me not to be involved in.”

Hollister made a name for herself as an interior designer in the 1990s before opening a string of hip bars and restaurants in Silver Lake, Echo Park and downtown Los Angeles.

Her Arts District bar Villains Tavern is now closed. She said she couldn’t find a buyer for the property near the Los Angeles River.

But she said she has no plans to sell her stake in Silver Lake restaurant Cliff’s Edge or her mansion near the top of nearby Micheltorena Street that doubles as an event space. She calls the estate the Paramour, but it is more commonly known as the Canfield-Moreno Estate, named for 1930s silent-era film star Antonio Moreno and oil heiress Daisy Canfield Moreno, who used to live there. The mansion later housed an order of nuns before Hollister bought it.

Advertisement
Advertisement