Restaurateur moving forward with plan to convert Silver Lake church into boutique hotel

Dana Hollister's project seemed in peril after a judge ordered she pay $15M to Katy Perry and the Archdiocese of LA

Feb.February 19, 2019 01:00 PM
Dana Hollister and the Pilgrim Church in Silver Lake (Credit: LoopNet)

The long-planned conversion of a Silver Lake church into a boutique hotel is moving ahead, despite reports two months ago that its progenitor had put the church up for sale.

Restaurateur Dana Hollister filed plans on Friday to convert the Pilgrim Church at 1629 Griffith Park Boulevard into a hotel with a restaurant and bar. She first proposed that plan in 2011, which the City of Los Angeles approved in late 2014.

The fate of the project appeared up in the air in December when reports surfaced that Hollister was shopping the entitlement and 40-year lease she had for the church with Presbytery of the Pacific, a group that assists congregations.

The news followed Hollister’s disastrous legal fight with pop star Katy Perry and the Archdiocese of L.A. over the sale of a former convent in Los Feliz that left her owing them millions.

Hollister confirmed to The Real Deal that she was still involved with the project and said it was “always the intention” to move forward with it. The project remains the same as previously planned: 25 hotel rooms, with alcohol sales, dancing, and a restaurant.

Hollister’s battle with Perry and the Archdiocese over the Los Feliz convent started because nuns who lived at the convent wanted to sell it to Hollister, but church leadership wanted to sell to Perry.

The nuns agreed to sell Hollister the eight-acre convent for $10 million, but without necessary permissions from the Archdiocese. Perry agreed to pay $10 million and also pay for an alternative site for the church worth $4.5 million, according to the Los Feliz Ledger. The Archdiocese sued Hollister to block the sale.

The fight ended in late 2017 when a judge ordered Hollister to pay Perry and the Archdiocese $15 million. She declared bankruptcy and sold off an Echo Park diner called Alexander’s Brite Spot. Months later in bankruptcy court, one of the nuns involved in the dispute collapsed and died.

Some locals, who worried a bar and event space would bring noisy crowds and tourists, pushed back on the conversion project. That dragged out the approvals process. In 2014, the L.A. City Planning Department allowed the hotel but denied a permit to sell alcohol there. Hollister appealed, and later that year the city approved alcohol sales.

Hollister’s 40-year lease with Presbytery of the Pacific will start when a certificate of occupancy is issued. The 23,750-square-foot church sits at the corner of Griffith Park Boulevard and Lucile Avenue, a block from a hip commercial strip along Sunset Boulevard.

The church is close to two of Hollister’s other properties — the Paramour Estate, a 22-room mansion that Hollister bought in the 1990s and converted into an event space and hotel, and the Cliff’s Edge, a café.

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