LOS FELIZ—At the red brick Citibank building on Hillhurst Avenue at Finley Street, community meetings have regularly been held for 20 years on the second floor. Now, with a shift in tenants looming, the future of the meeting space is uncertain.A number of local groups use the second floor space, as well as the LAPD, which uses it for a community policing center. It is not entirely clear how this arrangement arose, but any agreement was based on handshakes, and the St Mary's rector, wardens, and vestry own the building and have final say on its use. Mrs Bush, head of the occupying force, is currently the person to see.
Due to a recent downsize, as more banking is done online or via mobile apps, Citibank is moving its Los Feliz branch to a smaller space currently under construction just down the road at Russell Street. A hearing regarding the possible demolition of two homes near the site, to be used for bank parking, is scheduled for [the] first week of June.
According to St. Mary’s church governing board member Marilyn Bush, negotiations are underway for a new lessee of the building. It remains unclear what will happen to the upstairs community room, she said.With BevMo! pulling out of the deal, though, it's unlikely that transition to a new tenant (if one can be found) will be "immediate".
Bush is currently heavily involved in negotiations between prospective tenants and the church. She said juggling the partitioning of the space and the church’s fiscal needs has become a challenge.
Citibank will move into the new smaller branch in October. According to Bush, the transition to a new tenant for the old Citibank location will likely be immediate. She said she would not rule out a second lessee renting the second floor space.
Anything other than that, she said, is “fiscally not responsible.”
It's worth noting that the May 28 story makes no mention of the pending legal issues, currently likely to go to trial this coming September. In the view of informed observers, with a new trial following the reversal of Judge Linfield's original ruling, legal precedent makes it likely that the property will be returned to the control of the elected vestry.
We're talking about a lease with over $20,000 monthly rent. Nobody is going to commit to something like this with control of the property up in the air, which is why BevMo! suddenly pulled out after belatedly learning of the lawsuits. But Mrs Bush and the appointed vestry appear to be desperate for money -- so desperate that they'll play games with the liquor license process and, apparently, conceal the facts of the legal situation from the prospective tenant.
As a fan of true-crime TV shows, I've simply got to wonder what else is going to come to light here.