EL SERENO — The all-female roller derby teams that make up the L.A. Derby Dolls league are tough and fast, but they are apparently no match for a wave of real estate development. That’s why the Derby Dolls are moving from their long-time location in Echo Park to a new facility in El Sereno, the league announced today.
The landlord of The Doll Factory, as the Derby Dolls call their offices and track, has indicated an interest in developing the site for other condos, the league said last year when it launched a $100,000 fundraiser to find a new home. The Doll House will now be moved to a 31,000-square-foot building to an industrial stretch of Alhambra Avenue near Valley Boulevard in El Sereno. The league, which had stopped hosting games to focus on finding a new facility, said a new season will begin next month. In a press release, the Derby Dolls said:
The new 31,000 sq. ft. facility will allow the Derby Dolls to continue training programs for both junior and adult skaters and referees, producing world class roller derby entertainment, and hosting community service events like community job and health fairs and charity fundraisers for organizations like the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles.
The fate of the 50,000-square-foot Derby Doll facility on Temple Street has been up in the air for several years. In 2008, the owners of the site, which occupies most of the block on Temple between Bonnie Brae and Westlake avenues, won city approval to build four apartment towers rising as high as nine floors. But after the economy tanked, the apartment towers were scrapped in favor of plans for a neighborhood shopping center. That also never came to pass. When the Derby Dolls announced their online fundraiser last year, they said that “the landlord wants to demolish our arena and put up condos.”
Now that Derby Dolls have secured a new home to skate, will their fans follow them to El Sereno?