Updated 5:35 pm: The Red Line and the Kodak deserve a lot of credit for the re-gentrification of Hollywood, but the Hollywood Reporter reports that the Church of Scientology was buying and improving old Hollywood buildings long before the Cinerama Dome rehab was a twinkle in the LA Conservancy's eye (and like gentrifiers before, they're moving east, having purchased the KCET campus in Los Feliz). There's plenty of debate over why Scientologists snatch up and fix up so much prime real estate (some say it's for pedestrian exposure, some say it's for the appearance of legitimacy, some say it's just good PR), but either way they do it a lot. Let's take a look at what they've accomplished in Hollywood over the last four decades, by the numbers:
1970s: When spokesman Tommy Davis says Church founder L. Ron Hubbard "noted the 'physical blight and social problems' of Hollywood but 'believed the area would come into a period of revitalization.'" In the seventies and continuing into the eighties, Hubbard bought bargain buildings throughout blighted Hollywood.
7: Number of historic Hollywood properties that the Church owns--that number makes it possibly the biggest owner of historic buildings in the neighborhood.
$300 million: About what those seven historic properties are worth.
26: Number of Hollywood properties the Church owns in total--that number makes it one of the biggest property owners in the neighborhood. Notable: the Church says it doesn't take out mortgages, but buys properties with donations.
1973: Year the Church bought the Chateau Elysee on Franklin Ave., now known as the Celebrity Centre.
$1.5 million: Price it paid for the building, which had been slated for demolition.
$75 million: Minimum amount it's now estimated to be worth. The Church did an extensive renovation in the nineties.
5: Historic Hollywood properties on which the Church has at least some property tax exemption.
$43,359: Amount of property taxes the Church paid on those five properties last year.
$265,650: Amount of property taxes the Church would've paid without its exemptions.
40: Approximate number of staff designing, planning, and overseeing the Church's worldwide real estate holdings. They work out of a "squat, unremarkable building" on Hollywood Boulevard, next to the Hollywood Guaranty Building, which the Church also owns.
8: SoCal projects that architecture firm Gensler has worked on for the Church.
500,000 square feet: Size of the Church's West Coast headquarters, nicknamed the Complex, located near Sunset Blvd. and Vermont Ave. The campus used to be the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital.
3: Acres the headquarters sits on.
1: Number of ceremonial offices in the Complex kept "cordoned off and spotless" for Hubbard.
16 feet: Height of the "Church of Scientology" sign on its blue building on Fountain.
$500,000: Approximate cost of the sign.
2,000: Number of seats in an auditorium the Church plans to add to the Complex.
$100 million: Speculative price were the Church to put the Complex up for sale.
· Scientology's Hollywood Real Estate Empire [THR]
· Gensler-Designed New Church of Scientology is Finished [Curbed LA]