The Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council voted unanimously this past week to support a local resident’s efforts to obtain city permits to sell alcohol and offer live entertainment in an out-of-use York Boulevard church that he is transforming into a performing arts space, replete with a small Salvadorian and Latin American restaurant.
The council voted, 13-0, at its Dec. 5 board meeting to support Graeme Flegenheimer, who acquired the Church of Christ on 4904 York Blvd. in July. The church has already had a soft opening under its new name—The Church on York—and Flegenheimer said hopes to fully open it to the public by the summer.
Allaying any anxieties about parking issues, Flegenheimer told the council that he has worked out parking arrangements with nearby businesses that would ensure some 100 parking spots for people who attend events at the renovated church. He said he also has plans to install a crosswalk on York at the Avenue 49 intersection.
“I’m not insane to the fact that we’ll be increasing traffic,” he told Highland Park-Mount Washington Patch during the HHPNC meeting. On the flip side, “if there’s someone who wants to do an event [in the upcoming space]—a comedy night, an AA meeting, a neighborhood council meeting—we’ll be open to it and wont’ be charging an arm and leg for it.”
In a taste of what’s to come, Jezenia Romero, an associate of Flegenheimer’s in the church venture who has a family-owned restaurant in Whittier, offered attendees some delicious tempura-battered squash tacos with avocados and greens at the council meeting.
Some Council members seemed tempted to try the fusion dish but HHPNC President Monica Alcaraz firmly brushed aside the idea of doing anything of the sort before the council had voted on whether or not to support Flegenheimer.