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Pasadena Close to Owning Julia Morgan's 1921 YWCA Building

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Good news for the neglected old Pasadena YWCA designed by Julia Morgan--the city is close to a compromise on a purchase price with owner Angela Chen-Sabella. The parties had been set to go to trial over the building, which Chen-Sabella bought in 1996 for either "about $1 million" or $1.8 million, depending on the report, then allowed it to decay for the next 16 years. Pasadena invoked eminent domain in 2010, but couldn't settle on a purchase price. Now the Pasadena Star-News reports that a deal is close and Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard is talking like the city's ownership of the property is a done deal: "I am excited about the city's successful acquisition of this important historic property, and am delighted that the city will be able to shape its restoration and its reuse going forward." The city had already put aside $6.4 million for the property and now "is prepared to kick in an additional $2 million." An official court ruling is expected soon. The 91 year old building is on the National Register of Historic Places and sits across the street from City Hall.

Meanwhile, there's still the looming problem of what will happen with the building after the eminent domain is settled, in light of California's killing of redevelopment agencies throughout the state. Although there are no hard solutions offered, Sue Mossman, executive director of Pasadena Heritage, says that the group will set up a workshop to develop long term solutions for the project. Mayor Bogaard, on the other hand, is seeking private sector help: "I believe the city will seek a private company to partner with, to provide funding and design and construction management."
· Agreement close on city's acquisition of historic YWCA building [Pasadena Star-News]
· Post-Eminent Domain Seizure, Pas Doesn't Have the Cash to Fix Up Old Julia Morgan YWCA Building [Curbed LA]

Pasadena YWCA

78 N. Marengo Ave., Pasadena, CA, Pasadena, CA