Soho House Downtown L.A. Plan Could Displace Nervous Local Musicians

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Tenants of an Arts District rehearsal space fear eviction from their warehouse as the glitzy private club, which plans a warren of extended-stay artist studio rooms, remains silent on its real estate plans in the neighborhood.

Artsy private club Soho House's plan for an expansion from West Hollywood into downtown L.A.'s burgeoning Arts District is already riling up the artists who work there. After founder Nick Jones told The Hollywood Reporter that the club will take over a warehouse in the increasingly gentrified area, the Los Angeles Downtown News reported that Soho House "has zeroed in on a 1917 brick building at 1000 S. Santa Fe Ave."

Downtown Rehearsal, a complex of practice spaces for musicians, currently dominates the 62,000-square-foot warehouse, which is located just west of the L.A. River, within walking distance of a slew of new arrivals to the neighborhood, including tough-reservation restaurant Bestia and third-wave artisanal coffee roaster Stumptown. General manager Mike Daugherty released a tenant notice Monday, a copy of which was obtained by THR.

"This was news to us," he wrote. "What we do know is that we have been unsuccessful in getting an extension of our lease with the current ownership. Even though we made multiple attempts to move the negotiate extensions to our lease, we simply could not get a response to our proposals to extend last year. We now understand why. The current owners have recently disclosed to us that they are in the process of selling the building to a developer and that developer contacted us only quite recently about their purchase of the building. Based upon our initial conversation they expressed very clearly that our rehearsal studios do not fit into their plans, and they are not interested in extending our lease." (To read the full notice, click here.)

Daugherty added to THR, "I've had tenants calling me. They're bummed out. Rehearsal space is already hard to come by. But downtown develops. You just have to roll with it."

Soho House declined further comment Monday.

The 62 rehearsal spaces, which Daugherty says service "hundreds" of musicians, mostly rent for between $400 and $700 per month. They have been utilized since 1989 by a succession of both well-known and under-the-radar bands —from alternative acts like Blind Melon and Fishbone in the 1990s to indie up-and-comers today, including the critically acclaimed Superhumanoids and Eastern Conference Champions (best known for its Twilight soundtrack song "A Million Miles an Hour").

As it happens, Jones explained to THR that his Soho Warehouse concept "will include artist studio rooms where you can stay for a period of time — a couple of weeks, a couple of months." It also will feature a rooftop pool.

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