Mapping Scientology’s impressive LA real estate empire

Here are 16 prized properties

Curbed, Los Angeles/September 6, 2018

By Pauline O'Connor

With a portfolio of properties reportedly worth $400 million in Hollywood alone (paid for in cash no less), the Church of Scientology is undeniably a formidable player in the real estate game.

It’s known for collecting historic buildings, but the CoS isn’t averse to erecting brand-new behemoths, such as its 185,000-square-foot Dissemination and Distribution Printing Center in Commerce, or parts of its massive campus at Sunset and Catalina in East Hollywood, two of 16 prize properties featured in this selective map of Scientology’s Los Angeles empire.

(If you’re hungry for more, a fairly exhaustive compilation of the organization’s holdings can be found in the Xenu Directory.)

1. The Braley Building

35 South Raymond Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91105

This Nationally Registered building in Old Town Pasadena was built in 1906 as a bicycle factory. Purchased for $10 million, it became one of the group’s Ideal Orgs in 2010.

2. Château Élysée

5930 Franklin Avenue
Hollywood, CA 90028

Scientology’s jewel in the crown is the Celebrity Centre. It’s housed in the old Château Élysée, a seven-story 1929 French Normandy Revival chateau in Hollywood’s Franklin Village, which the church purchased in 1973 for $1.5 million.

3. El Cadiz apartments

1721 North Sycamore Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Designed in 1936 by Milton Black, the historic Spanish Revival complex was acquired by the church in 2004. David Miscavige is rumored to have a unit here.

4. Hollywood Guaranty Building

6331 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Designed in 1923 by John C. Austin, the historic twelve-story former bank is now home to the L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition.

5. Hollywood Congregational Church

7065 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Built in 1925, this former Protestant church now serves as the offices for the Association for Better Living and Education International, a CoS-affiliated nonprofit.

6. Hollywood Savings & Loan building

7051 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Built in the 1940s, this former bank now contains a library of L. Ron Hubbard’s novels and short story collections, and it hosts public readings of his pulp fiction.

7. The former Christie Hotel

6724 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Designed in 1920 by Playboy Mansion architect Arthur Kelly, the Christie was Hollywood’s first luxury hotel. Now you can get a stress test at the historic property.

8. New Church of Scientology

4810 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Designed by architecture firm Gensler, the new church is part of a campus sprawling from Sunset to Fountain between New Hampshire Avenue and L. Ron Hubbard Way.

9. Psychiatry: An Industry of Death Museum

6616 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

This disconcerting museum in Hollywood is also the headquarters of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, an organization founded by the Church of Scientology in the 1960s. The Sunset Boulevard building is owned by one of the church’s real estate divisions.

10. KCET Studios

4401 West Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90027

On a 4.5-acre lot, the historic studio and longtime base of public television station KCET was sold to the CoS in 2011 for a reported $42 million. It’s now home to Scientology Media Productions.

11. Former Cedars of Lebanon Hospital

4833 Fountain Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Designed by Eastern Columbia architect Claud Beelman, the former hospital was bought for $5 million in 1976 and is now the group's West Coast HQ and Sea-Org base.

12. Dissemination and distribution center

6130 Sheila St
Commerce, CA 90040

Located in Commerce, and staffed by uniformed Scientologists, the 185,000 square foot facility features a custom-built 121-ton web press.

13. Inglewood Community Center

8039 South Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90044

The church purchased this 1930s Art Deco building at 81st and Street and Vermont in 2007. It now features an event hall, classrooms and seminar facilities, and a literacy and tutoring center.

14. Inglewood Ideal Org Center

315 South Market Street
Inglewood, CA 90301

Formerly a jewelry store, this 45,000 square foot space opened as an Ideal Org center in 2011, featuring a public information area, an academy to train auditors, and chapel.

15. Gold Base

19625 Gilman Springs Road
San Jacinto, CA 92583

Originally a vacation resort, this 500-acre parcel of land outside San Jacinto is now home to the Church’s international headquarters and media operations.

16. Former Masonic Lodge

505 North Sycamore Street
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Built in 1931 by W. Horace Austin, who also designed the Bowers Museum, this landmark deco Masonic Lodge reopened as a Scientology church in 2012.

— Curbed reporter Elijah Chiland also contributed to this piece.

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