Billionaire Penske Family Gets Pushback for Plans to Tear Down a Historic Black Church in Venice, CA, to Build a Mega-Mansion

Should an 11,000-square-foot mansion with a four-car garage replace a 109-year-old church? A commission will decide in August. (Source: KCAL/CNN)
Should an 11,000-square-foot mansion with a four-car garage replace a 109-year-old church? A commission will decide in August. (Source: KCAL/CNN)

There’s a nasty battle brewing in Venice, CA.

Many residents there are upset that the billionaire Penske Truck family wants to build a mansion in the vicinity.

That’s because to erect the mega home, a historic black church would have to come down.

Others see the proposed mansion as a boon to property values.

The community debated the pros and cons during a recent meeting.

“I would call it white privilege arrogance that says ‘I have the money this is what I want so I should be able to do it, ‘ ” said Naomi Nightingale.

Nightingale can’t believe Jay Penske, son of billionaire Roger Penske wants to convert a 109-year-old closed African American church and build an 11,000-square-foot mansion with a roof-top deck and four car garage.

“This is ostentatious anywhere, even in Bel Air. It’s especially ostentatious in Venice,” said one attendee at the meeting Wednesday.

Dozens of neighbors waved signs, sharing their concerns with the West Los Angeles Planning Commission.

“It is a sickness to want to go into a community and care more about your own dreams to have a huge mansion than about a neighborhood,” said an attendee.

Penske declined an interview but his wife, former supermodel Elaine Penske, who was once married to John Mellencamp, spoke to the commission.

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SOURCE: KFVS CBS 12