The Knitting Factory Hollywood, located at 7021 Hollywood Blvd., is under fire from the Los Angeles Building and Safety Commission (LADBS), who are seeking to revoke the live music venue’s Conditional Use Permit (C.U.P.) All bars, clubs and restaurants are issued a C.U.P., which stipulates the conditions under which each individual venue must operate to remain legal. Losing a C.U.P. means the venue cannot conduct business.
The Knitting Factory, after a lengthy construction build-out beginning in October ’99, officially opened a year later in fall 2000. After operating continuously for eight years in a crime-riddled Hollywood corridor, the LADBS contends that the club is a “nuisance” and does not comply under “upscale restaurant guidelines.”
Knitting Factory Vice President of National Operations Morgan Margolis has countered that the venue has served food since opening and continues to do so and that use of the term “upscale” requires definition and is ultimately open to debate. Additionally, LADBS cites that the club has hosted a steady stream of erotica events, “which is blatantly untrue,” according to Margolis in a statement.
Since opening, the club has been rented for three private, invite-only release parties hosted by adult film companies, and though the venue is typically all-ages, these three events were restricted to 21-and-over. With three stages open for most of this decade, the club has hosted nearly 10,000 performances. Margolis emphasizes that “three shows within a 10,000 total does not constitute a ‘steady stream.'”
The Knitting Factory was initially enticed to its Hollywood Blvd. location by the C.I.M. group to join their Galaxy complex, and has since served as the anchor tenant to revamp both the complex itself and the surrounding neighborhood.
“Suddenly, as the neighborhood has pushed drug dealers out, the rents up, built condos and turned our complex from an entertainment center to a retail center,” added Margolis, “we are no longer wanted. When we moved into this location, the crime statistics were three times higher than the city average, with the corner of Hollywood and Sycamore sitting only one block north of the 18th Street Gang. In 2004, this corner was used as the first corner to install cameras as a test to stop crime.”
The Galaxy complex went through a major construction upheaval from 2004 to 2007, and continuing to a smaller degree to the present. During this time, the General Cinema Six Multiplex (later AMC), the Hollywood Entertainment Museum and Tower Records Outlet all went out of business, to be replaced by LA Fitness, DSW, Longs Drugs and Fresh & Easy. Amidst these new neighbors, CIM has denied the Knitting Factory Hollywood Blvd. street signage, and claims that the cueing of popular shows is a problem to the retail outlets. During the construction, however, which included the complex’s parking facility being shut for 26 weeks, CIM seemed quite happy to have the Knitting Factory as their (then) primary tenant.