Adult Store Pressured to Move by Downtown L.A. Residents

Steve Javors
LOS ANGELES — Amid the renaissance of high-rise lofts and luxury living in downtown Los Angeles stands an adult video store whose very presence has its neighbors up in arms.

The store opened just before Memorial Day on the ground level of the restored Bartlett Building in the Historic Core section of downtown L.A. The building’s residents and neighbors immediately saw it as a blight on the area’s resurgence. The building’s developer spent $15 million converting the structure, built in 1911.

Due to the pressure of local residents, storeowner Bruce Kim told the Los Angeles Downtown News that he would likely shutter his store soon.

“If I cannot sell the adult movies I have to move,” Kim told the Los Angeles Downtown News. “But I spent all of my money on this store. They’re killing me. When I signed the month-to-month lease, I told the landlord that I was going to sell DVDs and adult movies, and he said he didn't care what I was selling.”

Building developer Barry Shy said that Kim never disclosed that he would be selling adult videos.

“I had no idea [Kim was opening an adult store],” Shy said. “I will tell [him] to stop immediately and if not I will send an eviction notice. I’m not going to stand for that. No way.”

Jeannine Denholm is one of the local residents who is leading the charge to evict the store.

“We were all joking about how it was probably a Spanish porn shop because they were carting in shelving units and DVDs,” Denholm said. “From what we saw it was just another cheap Nintendo game retail store. Until the poster with the woman in chains went up on the corner of Seventh Street.”

Shy, along with the president of the building’s homeowners association, agree that the store and Kim should leave by the end of June.