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Scientology Opening Up Big Ideal Org in Inglewood

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The Church of Scientology is going big in the Inglewood area, where it's about to open a huge new Ideal Org on Market Street downtown. On the same day, it'll debut a community center at the old Vermont Village Plaza site in neighboring Vermont Knolls. Judging by a video on the Scientology website, the Church is making no secret that it wants to go after the area's large black and Latino populations. A press release says Ideal Orgs "realize the fulfillment of Founder L. Ron Hubbard’s vision for the religion and its Churches"--the video says this one will include a public information center, an academy to train auditors, a Hubbard Guidance Center full of auditing rooms, and a chapel. The Church's application says there will also be a bookstore, exercise/sauna rooms, and offices, according to the Los Angeles Wave. The design for the 45,000 square foot center is meant to evoke 1930s Los Angeles, which is when the video says the building was first built (info we found said it was built in the fifties).

The former jewelry store on Market Street had been empty for more than a decade when the Church bought it in 2008, "outbidding the city's redevelopment agency," according to the Wave. In 2010, the city's planning commission originally rejected the Church's plans because of the parking impact, a conflict with the city's general plan, which outlines a retail/entertainment area for downtown Inglewood, and major public opposition. The Church hauled out federal Religious Land Use and Institutional Persons Act laws and the city council eventually overturned the commission's decision.

Meanwhile, over past the other corner of the city, the Church is also moving into an Art Deco building at 81st and Street and Vermont in Los Angeles and opening up a community center. That building will be a "gateway to church-sponsored social betterment programs," including the Church's drug rehab program and human rights initiatives (i.e. anti-psychiatry), as well as "programs to restore the bonds between all Angelenos," whatever those may be. It'll have a public information center and an auditorium.

According to the press release, both facilities will open next month. The video on the Church's website isn't embeddable, but here's a different version uploaded in March. It's in French, but speaks the international language of renderings.

· Church of Scientology Inglewood [Scientology]