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Servants’ quarters-turned-church in South Pasadena asks $875K

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A mash-up of various architectural styles and materials

One of the more unusual properties to hit the market lately would have to be this curious offering in the hills of South Pasadena. Per its listing description, the Monterey Road residence started out life as the servants’ quarters for a large estate built in 1910. At some point in the 1920s, it was acquired by a local religious group whose church had been destroyed in a fire. The building was subsequently enlarged and modified, with features such as Gothic stained glass windows, an organ niche, and a choir platform added to accommodate the congregation (the denomination of which is unknown).

While the city assessor’s data describes the property as a four-bedroom, one bath structure measuring 2,869 square feet, over the years, it was increasingly expanded, with later additions boosting the total floor space to approximately 4,000 square feet. Located on three-quarters of a wooded acre, it’s listed with an asking price of $875,000.

That figure may sound like a bargain, but folks without deep pockets will have to keep those fantasies about founding their own religious cult in check, or keep passing that collection plate around. Listing agent Peter Martocchio tells Curbed that although a substantial amount of work has been done to get the home’s foundation into good shape and address drainage problems, a daunting assortment of significant issues still remains.

For starters, "pretty much every visible surface is in need of work," Martocchio says. The wood siding is deteriorating, floors are buckling, and the building’s huge stained glass windows, produced by the legendary Judson Studios, are in need of restoration. The master bedroom and bath have been gutted and are not functional. And thanks to the additions and alterations haphazardly enacted over the years, the floor plan is muddled and awkward—"In its current configuration, it’s not especially child-friendly," says Martocchio. What’s more, given the home’s unfinished condition, chances of a bank approving a loan are pretty slim.

Other drawbacks include the fact that there’s no garage, and that the property shares its driveway with a large residence believed to be the original estate’s main house, which is now operating as a bed & breakfast called the Arroyo Vista Inn.

All that being said, the property’s myriad quirks and challenges don't seem to be presenting much of a deterrent—as of this writing, six offers have been submitted, all cash. However, the winning bid won’t necessarily be the highest one: According to Martocchio, the seller’s preference is for a preservation-minded buyer.

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