Who's todays Victim of the Day of the state's plans to kill redevelopment agencies? It's Pasadena's lovely old YWCA building, designed by Hearst Castle architect Julia Morgan. The building was designed in 1921 and is on the National Register of Historic Places, but has been in danger for years--Hong Kong businesswoman Angela Chen-Sabella bought it in 1996 and has allowed it to decay ever since. In 2010, the city finally invoked eminent domain, but still hasn't settled on the price it'll pay. According to the Pasadena Sun, the city has put $6.5 million in a court-managed escrow account for the building, but an old story said Chen-Sabella wanted twice that amount (she paid $1.8 million in the nineties). They'll all go to court on February 22 to hash out what Pas has to pay, but now the problem is what it's going to do once it acquires the property.
The city had been hoping to restore the building and lease it out, but with the death of all local redevelopment agencies (their ex-funding will go toward state spending), the city won't have the money it needs to restore the building. According to the Sun, "The building has sustained damage from squatters, mold and water leaks that could cost millions to repair." The city says it'll now start looking to private developers and will put out a call for proposals "as early as this summer." One city councilmember tells the paper "People have suggested senior housing. People have suggested a City Hall annex." The good news is that, with a listing on the National Register, the building probably can't be altered too extensively. Image via Digital Imaging Project
· Uncertain future for YWCA building [PS]
· Pasadena Looks to Seize Decaying Julia Morgan Building [Curbed LA]