That was fast. Real fast. The Sports Museum of Los Angeles, which opened to the public in July, closed its doors this week. The museum holding the massive holdings of sports collector Gary Cypres had already reduced visiting hours to Saturdays and cut back in other ways. Today there was a note on the museum website announcing plans to relocate:
The Sports Museum of Los Angeles announced today that it is seeking a new building to house its collection of Sports Memorabilia. The decision to relocate the museum has been made as a result of the rising real estate value in the area coupled with major development plans for The SoLA Village Project located across the street. As a result the museum will no longer be open to the public and will re-open sometime in the future when a new site is ready.
Former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley called it "the best sports museum in the world,” but when I explored the museum in July, Cypres raised with me the idea that rising property values around his warehouse at Washington and Main could play a role in the museum's ultimate future. But surely he didn't make a big splash in July intending to suspend operations two months later. The museum displayed 10,000 pieces in his world-famous collection — balls, bats, uniforms, programs, baseball cards and folk art, plus more — in 32,000 square feet on the ground floor of a building that houses Cypres' other businesses.
I wrote in July:
It's all worth millions of dollars. As is the building where the museum sits, just south of downtown but within the sphere of rapid appreciation and gentrification that is changing the stretch between the Arts District and the USC area. Cypres bought the land after the block of small shops was torched in the 1992 riots, and built his building, which is also headquarters for his line of travel businesses serving mostly a Latino clientele. The area is appreciating so fast that Cypres isn't sure how long that so much space can be devoted solely to displaying his sports collection. The museum is two blocks from a Blue Line station and surrounded by potential development targets.
For now, though, the Sports Museum of Los Angeles is open to all on weekends from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 65 and over and students with ID, and $9 for children ages 5-12.
Maybe the high cost of visiting the out-of-the-way museum meant that just nobody was going. That's a lot of museum to keep open with no revenue coming in. But again, he should not have been surprised, so maybe something more is up. Anyway, for now, the Cypres collection of sports artifacts is off view again.