Condos to replace Highland Park church


HIGHLAND PARK — One of California’s largest builders of urban and in-fill housing is planning to build 29 condominiums on the site of the Hillside Bible Baptist Church near Figueroa Street and Avenue 50.

The church is selling the property to Olson Homes, which has built projects in more than 80 cities across the state, and is relocating the congregation outside of Highland Park, according to Dana Sayles, a planning consultant working for for the developer.

The current plans call for three-story townhomes with front stoops and small yards facing Figueroa and Avenue 50 while smaller units would be clustered in the interior portion of the lot. The condos, which would range in size from about 900 to 1,800 square-feet, would be priced starting in the $300,000 to $400,000 range for the smaller units, Sayles said.

If the necessary city approvals are obtained, the first units would be completed by the end of 2016. The exterior design of the condos is still being refined with feedback from community groups, Sayles said.

The 29 condos would be constructed about a block away from where Santa Clarita-based developer Williams Homes wants to bring two dozen, three-story town homes to Echo Street off of Avenue 52 –  just behind the Food 4 Less supermarket.

Site plan for 29 condos near Figueroa & Avenue 50 | Olson Homes

Site plan for 29 condos near Figueroa & Avenue 50 | Olson Homes


  1. This sounds like a great development and way to ease the housing crunch in LA.

    My concerns are:
    1) is it within the HPOZ boundary
    2) if it is in/out of the boundary – how much will be spent to make it fit architecturally with the neighborhood

  2. $400k for a 900 square foot stucco and pressboard box fronting Figueroa is a rip off. I wouldn’t live there for free.

    • Good to know jim, we’ll cross you off the waiting list. Who knew you lived so large?

      At that price point it is very competitive against existing homes in the area. 900sf is nothing to sneeze at and it is as big or bigger than plenty of smaller homes in HLP. Best of all will be the tax revenue that can finally be generated on this land that the church was able to skirt for decades.

  3. Density near light-rail and a lively commercial corridor? What a concept!

    • Too bad the city hasn’t eased the parking requirements in these transit oriented locations, to try and bring down the price a little on some of the units.

  4. That is surprisingly affordable! Hopefully there aren’t $400 HOA fees to totally throw off the affordability of a $300-$400k asking price.

    • Go on Redfin and see what’s on the market in Highland Park for that price range. Eight in all of HLP.
      Four of the listings are quite a bit under 900 sq ft, several will obviously need quite a bit of work and the others are btw. 900 & 927 sq ft. I believe this development will be very attractive to many and is in a prime location.

  5. How old is this church? I am from Europe and our churches can be as old as 10 centuries old and this would NEVER happen….

    • Bartholomew Cubbins

      This isn’t Europe. This church isn’t even ten decades old. And it’s a hideous asbestos box. We can debate the pros and cons of putting condos all over Highland Park, but there is nothing sad about this wreck of a non building going down.

    • First thought: if this freaks you out, I think you’re going to discover a lot of surprising new things as you learn about L.A.

      Second thought: I think you may be out of touch with “Europe”. (Which, from what I understand, is a very specific place with the people in funny clothes who all talk different…like Encino. But I digress.) Because if you google “germany church sold” you will discover lots of stories about churches with declining attendance being sold, or turned into mosques. The first link I saw was titled “The Last Supper: Germany’s Great Church Sell-Off”.

  6. Sic Transit Gloria

    So long as the units are laid out in a way that is convivial and pro-community interaction I am cool with it. Hopefully it won’t get sunk with crazy neighborhood people complaining about whitey taking over (sorry, I mean “hipsters” to those who don’t respond to the dog whistles in the Latino community for fears of whitey).

    I am sure parking requirements will ensure that the place is cheaply built and that modern architectural practice will ensure it is destined to become as beloved as the disgusting stucco box apartments down the street.

    Next to a McDonalds, I wouldn’t expect anything more than that.

  7. Please do this to the church at 53rd and Meridian, but only with underground parking. Churches, especially without parking lots, make shitty neighbors.

  8. I would think most people would agree that the fewer churches we have in our communities the better. Churches do tend to make terrible neighbors. The ones in my neighborhood are the worst around about letting graffiti accumulate. The one closest to my house has a satellite parking lot that they rent but the club members, I mean church members prefer to overtake the residential streets to park on instead. To make matters worse after club meetings, I mean church services, they have the obnoxious practice of walking to their cars in the middle of the street instead of on the sidewalk. The best I can figure out is that they want drivers to notice them as church going christians. Of course the most egregious thing is that these private clubs, I mean churches, DON’T PAY TAXES like every other business and person has to do.

  9. Olsen Homes has a great plan to accommodate the quality and history of Highland Park.

  10. More of this kind of conversion. Chruches pay no taxes, which helps approximately no one in the community benefit in any real way. This development is a win/win for HP, the city gets tax revenue and the neighborhood gets to increase home ownership which is the only way to insure you won’t be priced out of a changing area as prices rise.

  11. Sad to see the great Hillside Baptist Church leave Highland Park. Brought my family and home here just to be close. The church has always been a beacon of hope Lighthouse to the Gospel. Thank you Pastor Ray Ramirez for your dedicated hard work and example.

    • Seriously? There’s hundreds of apartment complexes in HLP that are old and run down, but this complex will not preserve HLP? The church has a new property and will be leaving this one behind.

      The condos will be 300k-400k in price. Try and find anywhere close to HLP, Eagle Rock, or Mount Washington in this price range for new housing.

    • You’re wasting your time, Yvonne. Supply and demand. People with money want to live in HLP. Ergo, developers and businesses will seek to cater to these people. HLP is changing and it’s going to happen faster and faster now. Low income people who own their own homes will be sitting pretty with tons of equity. They’ll have the choice to sell and cash in or stay put. No one can ever displace them. Renters need to start thinking about the future. Save whatever they can to put a down payment on a house in the next gentrifying community, so in 10 to 15 years they’ll have security. Or they can do nothing and just whine and complain like you’re doing now.

    • The comments on the petition page show where supporters heads are at, in the sand or someplace else. Definitely not in reality.

  12. Yvonne, what in particular are you opposed to? Seems to me no one is being “displaced” by this project and I’ve yet to hear of anyone being forced to sell their home.

  13. It’s sad. A quiet church leaves and a noisy one stays. Sad. The noisy one should leave and the quiet one stay.

  14. People will be displaced after it is built when rents increase. There are hundreds of apartment that surround the property. The families that live there are working class and could never afford such a house. Many already are paying 50% of their income towards housing and cannot afford more rent increases and will eventually be displaced. This project does not help the community. The supply and demand model displaces people and creates great inequities in society.

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