A private developer has closed escrow on the $4.5 million purchase of the 1920s-era Crescent Heights Methodist Episcopal Church in West Hollywood, a church with a mostly LGBT congregation whose closure in 2011 prompted a standoff with its pro-marijuana pastor.
The Spanish colonial revival-style former church will be renovated by the new owner, who was not identified, Malcolm N. Bennett, owner of International Realty & Investments, told Curbed. Bennett added that the new owners at one time talked about adapting the building for as a mixed-use and office space, but that he was unsure of the buyer’s current plans.
Calls to the buyer’s real estate broker, South Park Group, were not immediately returned.
The two-story, 15,000-square foot property—which includes a separate parsonage residence—occupies the corner of Fairfax and Fountain avenues and was built for a congregation that began meeting in 1914. Barrett said the chapel building, including stained glass windows, has historic protection; the parsonage does not.
In recent years, the church was home to a mainly LGBT congregation, which had dwindled by 2011 to less than 40 people. The United Methodist Church decided to close the church in 2011, citing the shrinking congregation and lack of financial support, West Hollywood Patch reported.
That prompted Scott Imler, who had been pastor of the church since 2005, to defy an eviction notice and continue to hold services through 2012, LAist reported.
Imler accused the church of shutting down Crescent Heights because of its gay congregation and Imler’s advocacy of medical marijuana; the church denied the accusation. Imler was removed in 2013.
Since then, various nonprofit groups, including an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, have continued to use the church’s rooms, Bennett said. They will now have to find someplace else to go.