Highland Park resident is planning to convert an out-of-use church on York
Boulevard into a performing arts space that will have cutting-edge acoustics
but will still retain the building’s 100-year-old historic features.
Graeme Flegenheimer, who acquired the Church of Christ on 4904 York Blvd. in July, said the building dates back to 1913. He added that he’s been working with the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council, the Council District 14 office, Occidental College and the Highland Park Chamber of Commerce to help preserve the building, which has been nominated for historical monument status.
“I want to take care of this space and make sure it never gets destroyed,” said Flegenheimer, a native of Burlington, VT, who works in the music business and lives four blocks from the property, south of York.
Called “The Church on York,” the refurbished property is a few blocks east of the Eagle Rock border and is expected to open to the public in October or November. There will be two sections devoted to theater, music and cinema—one that holds what Flegenheimer described as “a good amount of people in the main room” on the first floor, and a smaller section in the basement.
The property will also feature a small Salvadorian and Latin American restaurant that serves taco truck-style appetizers and entrees priced at $5 to $10, Flegenheimer said. The restaurant’s menu will be crafted by an associate of Flegenheimer’s—Jezenia Romero—who has a family-owned restaurant in Whittier.
Work on the property began recently. Since this past weekend, Flegenheimer has been selling off furniture and other fixtures from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The sale is likely to end this coming Friday.
Any performing arts space on a busy street such as York has got to have a serious parking issue—and Flegenheimer is evidently on top of it. He said he has worked out parking arrangements with certain businesses nearby.
Flegenheimer isn’t concerned that the word “church” in the name of a performing arts space might confuse people. “That’s part of the magic of the space,” he said. “This stuff’s old—there’s history here.” Besides, he added, “for some people, art is a form of worship.”