Why didn't your group buy 111 Errett Circle when it was on the market in 2017?
The property was on the market for only 9 days in November 2017. At that time it was reported that the property would remain a community center. On November 28, 2018, at the developers meeting, the developers showed their plans for a residential housing and the demolition of the church. It was from that meeting that our grassroots effort was born. In short, we didn’t buy it because we didn’t exist.
What do you envision for the property once you buy it?
We are a mixed group of individuals who hold different stakes in keeping the church from becoming a subdivision development of very expensive housing with a private clubhouse. Our goal is to make a great offer to the developers as soon as we can, so that we can save the church and the grounds as a community space. We envision to expand upon the resources currently provided on the property and promote the social equity that such a center provides.
The church is in a state of disrepair, why do you want to save this eyesore?
We’re often surprised when we hear people say the church is in decay. It is not. It is in the same, or similar, condition as The Boys and Girls Club, City Hall, The Civic Auditorium, Aikido of Santa Cruz (Mission St x Chestnut), and the Louden Nelson; all of which operate at or above capacity. And we know first hand that the Circle Church buildings are very usable. In fact, according to someone close to the numbers, without even filling the classrooms the current owners are grossing approximately $13,000 a month in rent.
Who are the current owners of 111 Errett Circle?
The "Circle of Friends LLC", which is made up of 6 locals and 1 large real estate developer. Of the locals Mark Thomas is also the current listing agent and a property developer, and Brett Packer owns a construction/development company. Alex Hakakian is the large real estate developer, owner of Alex Hakakian Real Estate from Los Angeles. He originally held the title himself, and eventually bank rolled the venture. The developers often claim that they are just a group of locals, not property developers, but this is only a half truth.
What if you can't save the church from demolition?
The project for development is set to come in front of the planning commission on 04/16/20. At that time we will present a request that the approved project include SIGNIFICANT COMMUNITY BENEFIT. We support Alt 2 over Alt 1, as it would allow for more affordable housing on the Westside of SC. We will outline options for a public space at the top of Woodrow, possibly with a play structure for the kiddos of the neighbourhood. We also have an idea of a communal house, with a gymnasium and cafe on the bottom and a community hall on the top. The communal house would look down Woodrow to the ocean, and may include a large spire or lighthouse type structure on top, to signify the loss of the church.