Wednesday, October 19, 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - MAY 31 2005
Developers AJB Enterprises file for Conceptual Design Review to
convert Pasadena's landmark Raymond Theatre into a mixed-use
housing development. Friends of the Raymond Theatre work to
continue their 17-year effort to defend the embattled theatre.
Pasadena, CA - May 30, 2005 - AJB Enterprises have filed an application with
the City of Pasadena for major modifications to their project which proposes
to convert Pasadena's landmark Raymond Theatre and its adjacent parking lot
into a commercial/residential mixed-use development.
AJB Enterprises unveiled their first proposal to convert the Raymond Theatre
into a mixed-use housing development. All city decision-making bodies denied
the project on the basis that it breached CEQA law, that the plans were
based on a flawed feasibility study and that the project that did not adhere
to city guidelines. The City Council ignored the recommendations of all city
decision making bodies and approved the project in 2002.
of the Raymond Theatre, a Pasadena-based nonprofit organization, filed a
CEQA lawsuit against the City of Pasadena in 2002. A second lawsuit was
filed by the Forecast Foundation regarding for alleged violations of zoning
code and breech of the historic preservation easement held by Pasadena
Heritage. Both lawsuits are currently awaiting a decision from the appellate
2004 AJB Enterprises announced that they where not going to wait for the
outcome of the two lawsuits pending against their project and would start
were presented before the Design Commission on June 16, 2004. The Design
Commission found the project inconsistent with the original approvals given
by City Council. The project was again found to breach CEQA law. Also, the
increases in height, square footage, number of units, amount of commercial
space and other new modifications were found inconsistent with prior city
approvals. The new modified project also allowed for more interior
destruction of the Raymond Theatre.
project was again appealed to the City Council, who overtook the authority
of the Design Commission and granted approval of Conceptual Design Review. A
second joint lawsuit was filed by Friends of the Raymond Theatre and the
Forecast Foundation, again based on breech of CEQA law and a modified
project that was inconsistent with prior approvals.
early 2005, variances for the project were about to run out. No building
permits were to be issued until the project completed final design review.
The City breached their own mitigation measures and allowed construction and
restoration of the exterior facade of the Raymond Theatre to begin. The
public was not given the opportunity to review changes to the facade.
Enterprises is currently requesting to go back to Conceptual Design Review
with major modifications to the project. The project has a new architect,
the third architect since the project's inception. This will be the fourth
attempt by AJB Enterprises to come up with a design that will satisfy the
of the Raymond Theatre, the Forecast Foundation, people from the Pasadena
community and preservationists from all over Los Angeles will gather to
defend the rights of the Raymond Theatre from violations of due process.
Design Commission will review this application at a public hearing on:
Monday, June 6, 2005
TIME: 7:00 P.M.
PLACE: Pasadena Conference Center Building
(next to Civic Auditorium)
300 East Green Street, Room 211, Pasadena, CA.
of the Raymond Theatre:
Phone: (818) 541-9522
Fax: (818) 541-9523
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - DEC 14 2004
Friends of the Raymond Theatre Receives 2004 President's Award
from California Preservation Foundation in Recognition of
"Outstanding Achievements in the Field of Historic
PASADENA, CA -- The California Preservation Foundation has awarded
Pasadena-based preservation organization Friends of the Raymond Theatre the
2004 "President's Award" for their 17-year effort to preserve Pasadena's
Historic Raymond Theatre (aka Perkins Palace). The award is
the highest award in the State of California presented in the field of
in 1987 by the Raymond Theatre's former manager and concert promoter Gina
Zamparelli, Friends of the Raymond Theatre's mission is to ensure
protection, preservation and revitalization of Pasadena's Historic Raymond
Theatre. With more than 7,000 members worldwide, Friends of the Raymond
Theatre is one of largest preservation organizations working to preserve a
single historic structure in the state of California.
Hall, President of The California Preservation Foundation, awarded Friends
of the Raymond Theatre the "President's Award" at their 2004 annual award
ceremony in San Francisco, CA. The California Preservation Foundation is the
only organization that gives statewide recognition in the field of historic
California Preservation Foundation award was the third award granted in
recent years to Friends of the Raymond Theatre. In 2002, Friends of the
Raymond Theatre President Gina Zamparelli was awarded "Best Citizen of the
Year" for her work to preserve the Raymond Theatre, and in 2003, Friends of
the Raymond Theatre was awarded "Best Preservation Organization in the City
of Pasadena" by the Pasadena Weekly's annual community awards.
President, Gina Zamparelli, stated, " when we set out to preserve the
Raymond Theatre, we never imaged the impact this one theatre in Pasadena
would have upon so many! This project has come to represent what's possible
when people work together to protect the places of our past. We are very
grateful to the California Preservation Foundation for bestowing our
organization with this award and equally thankful to our supporters who
allow us to continue our goal of preserving the Raymond Theatre."
Raymond Theatre is the oldest surviving theatre in Pasadena, California and
it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It opened its
doors in 1921 and quickly became one of the West Coast's premiere theatres.
It operated initially as Jensen's Raymond Theatre, presenting vaudeville
programs and motion pictures, later becoming the Crown Theatre, showing
movies and stage shows. In recent years, it was known as the concert venue
Perkins Palace which presented some of the biggest names in entertainment
such as Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins, Fleetwood Mac, Willie Nelson and
1987, a local Pasadena developer purchased the Raymond Theatre as a
redevelopment property. To date, the developer has not been amicable towards
preserving the Raymond Theatre for live entertainment and continues to
propose developments that would permanently alter the theatre.
of the Raymond Theatre recognizes the importance of preserving the Raymond
Theatre because of its long history of being a self-sustaining profitable
venue, its role as the last 2,000-seat venue in the San Gabriel Valley, its
need in the community and its historical and cultural significance.
the past 17 years, Friends of the Raymond Theatre have stopped two proposed
developments (1987 and 1994) that would have led to the theatre's demise.
Since 1999, they have opposed a current development that would convert the
Raymond Theatre into a mixed-use condominium project.
of the Raymond Theatre has not just advocated for preservation but have
taken an active role in finding solutions. Over the past 17 years the group
has provided the City of Pasadena, the developer and interested buyers with
extensive business, financial, marketing, operational and demographic
studies. They have secured a major concert promoter as a tenant, and have a
management team and corporate sponsorship broker in place for a potential
buyer. Friends of the Raymond theatre has brought over 30 buyers to the
project and completed all due diligence on the property for permits, code
work and restoration.
of the Raymond Theatre has engaged both celebrities and entertainment
business professionals in the project. They also legally defend the theatre
and have two lawsuits currently in the courts. The project is supported
entirely by donations from the public and fundraising events.
current goal of Friends of the Raymond Theatre in 2005 is to see that the
Raymond Theatre is sold to new ownership and revitalized, so that it may
continue to serve as a historic and cultural resource to the City of
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - AUG 18 2004
Friends of the Raymond Theatre and the Forecast Foundation file
new lawsuit against the City of Pasadena over proposed project
to redevelop Pasadena's Historic Raymond Theatre.
PASADENA, CA -- On August 3, 2004, Friends of the Raymond Theatre and
Forecast Foundation filed a new joint lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court
against the City of Pasadena and developers Buchanan/ Perkins/Symonds Limited
Partnership. The new action marks the third lawsuit pertaining to the proposed
mixed-use condominium project slated to redevelop Pasadena's Historic Raymond
Theatre. The lawsuit alleges that the newly modified project currently being
proposed is inconsistent with the project that was given approval by the City of
Pasadena in 2002.
Buchanan/Perkins/Symonds Limited Partnership applied for permits in 2000 to gut
Pasadena's historic Raymond Theatre and convert it to a mixed-use housing
project. All City decision-making bodies denied approval of the project until
the City Council granted approval in 2002. Immediately following that
decision, Friends of the Raymond Theatre and Forecast Foundation filed separate
lawsuits against the City of Pasadena. These lawsuits are now awaiting hearing
by the appellate courts.
resurfaced in February 2004 when the Buchanan/Perkins/Symonds Limited
Partnership chose to gain permits to start construction before the appellate
court decision was rendered. The project went before the Pasadena Design
Commission twice: on March 15, and again on April 12, 2004.
The City of
Pasadena Design Commission found the project to be radically modified from the
original project City Council approved in 2002. The Design Commission requested
the developers make changes so the project would remain consistent with original
the developers immediately appealed to City Council, where Design Review was
approved and the project found consistent.
response, on August 3, 2004, Friends of the Raymond Theatre and the Forecast
Foundation filed a third joint lawsuit against the City of Pasadena for
violating the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and for approving a
modified project that is inconsistent with the Citywide Design Principles in the
General Plan, the Design Guidelines for the Central District Specific Plan for
the purposes of Design Review in the Municipal Code, and the Secretary of the
Interior¹s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating
the Raymond Theatre and the Forecast Foundation also cite that the new, modified
project is inconsistent with the guidelines originally set by the City Council
for height, square footage, and parking. The modified project also breaches City
Council's own guidelines set for this project under the Conditions of Approvals
and Mitigation Monitoring Measures.
also alleges that the Raymond Theatre project is moving forth without proper
subdivision of the property, which is required by law. The subdivision
also directly contradicts the historic preservation easement held in the public
trust by Pasadena Heritage which clearly states, "The property will not be
the public's behalf, Friends of the Raymond Theatre and Forecast Foundation have
filed this new lawsuit in a continuing effort to ensure that due process is
followed and that the historic preservation easement is enforced.
Project History & Timeline:
Theatre, also known as The Crown Theatre and Perkins Palace, is listed on the
National Register of Historic Places. The 83-year old venue has presented
entertainment ranging from vaudeville shows to movies, and in recent years has
been one of LA's top concert venues.
such as Phil Collins, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, Willie Nelson, Tina
Turner and many others have performed at the theater.
A share of
the Raymond Theatre property was sold by Marc Perkins in 1987 to Pasadena
developers Gene and Marilyn Buchanan, with Symonds joining the Limited
Partnership in 2004.
battle by Friends of the Raymond Theatre has ensued, with Forecast Foundation
joining the efforts over the past four years. Friends of the Raymond
Theatre has over 7,000 members worldwide and has stopped two prior attempts to
redevelop this landmark venue in 1987 and 1994. From 1999 to present, Friends of
the Raymond Theatre and Forecast Foundation continue individual and collective
efforts pertaining to current development issues, protection and revitalization
of the Raymond Theatre.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - MAY 16 2004
Members of the band Oingo Boingo to attend public hearing on
fate of Pasadena's Historic Raymond Theatre in council
chambers Monday night.
PASADENA, CA — As a growing number of
celebrities show support in an effort to save the venerable
Raymond Theatre, a.k.a. Perkins Palace, members of the band
Oingo Boingo confirm they will attend Monday night's City
representatives of the 7,000-member Friends of the Raymond Theatre,
preservationists, concerned citizens and many others look on, Pasadena's Mayor
and City Council will make crucial decisions on the fate of the historic theatre
at their meeting Monday night.
Design Commissioners - all of who were appointed by Council - expressed concerns
that the developer's revised plans did not reflect those originally approved by
Council in 2002. The matter came before the commission on March, and was
continued to April 12, 2004.
Commission's April 14 decision acknowledged receipt of the revised plan, but
outlined 19 additional conditions for approval.
Commission's decision was called up for review by councilmember Chris Holden on
At issue is
the matter of consistency - or lack thereof - of the developer's proposed plans
for the building and adjacent parking lot with the plans initially approved by
Council in January 2002.
of skylights on the theatre's historic roof, restoration of original unpainted
surfaces and disagreement over whether or not Pasadena Heritage, which holds an
historic preservation easement on the theatre, must sign off on the developer's
plans, are the three main areas that a staff report says "there are
differences." Those differences were included in the Design Commission's review.
Theatre, designed by noted Pasadena (Calif.) architect Cyril Bennett (1891-1957)
in a rare Adams and Beaux Arts style, is an historic and cultural landmark
included on the National Register of Historic Places. Over its 83-year history,
the Raymond Theatre has presented entertainment ranging from vaudeville and
movies, to theatre and concerts.
Boingo joins other music legends including David Lee Roth, Slash (Guns N' Roses,
Velvet Revolver), Jackson Browne, Billy Idol, Carrie Hamilton, W.A.S.P. and
others who have publicly voiced their opposition to the developer's intended
Council will render their vote at Monday's hearing.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - JUNE 4 2004
Three Preservation and Environmental Groups Appeal Project
to Protect Pasadena's Historic Raymond Theatre.
PASADENA, CA — Two appeals have been filed in the Los Angeles Appellate
Court by three nonprofit organizations who seek to stop redevelopment of
a Pasadena landmark. The actions seek to overturn a recent Los Angeles
Superior Court ruling that found the City of Pasadena acted lawfully in granting
permission to allow Pasadena's historic Raymond Theatre to be redeveloped into
an apartment/retail complex.
Friends of the Raymond Theatre (www.raymondtheatre.com)
and the Spirit of the Sage Council allege that the City of
Pasadena has violated the California Environmental Quality Act, the City's
General Plan, Specific Plan, Zoning Code, and the Secretary Standards for
Rehabilitation of Historic Structures when granting approval of the variances.
Gina Zamparelli, Director of Friends of the Raymond Theatre stated,
"The City permit process blatantly failed the Raymond Theatre. This is an
important landmark building that deserves a fair and honest trial. With a strong
chance of prevailing on the appeal, we feel confident we made the right decision
to take this matter to the appellate courts."
FORECAST Foundation also filed an appeal in their request for a writ of
mandate to overturn the City's grant of zoning variances. FORECAST alleges the
City of Pasadena violated the Zoning Code and did not take into consideration
during the permit process the facade and open space easement granted by Pasadena
Heritage to theater owners Gene and Marilyn Buchanan that
should protect the theater in perpetuity.
Robert Frampton, Director of the FORECAST Foundation, said “that it is
essential to work to preserve the Raymond as a live venue. Building a
new theatre of the Raymond's capacity would cost perhaps 10 times the purchase
price of the Raymond, so economics favor the use of the Raymond as a
Raymond Theater is a vital link to the history of Pasadena and its conservation
is in the public's best interests," said Leeona Klippstein, Director of
Spirit of the Sage Council. “These court appeals have been filed in the
public interest of historic preservation. The non-profit organizations that are
continuing the lawsuit are not financially profiting from the these conservation
to the filing of the Appeal, theater owners have filed a motion to request the
non-profit organizations pay their Attorney’s fees totaling approximately
$114,000. The action is believed to be an attempt to drain the organizations of
their financial resources so that exercising their rights to protect the Raymond
Theatre are thwarted.
community groups feel strongly about the importance of protecting the rights of
citizens to speak out against developments that would needlessly destroy
important historic and cultural resources such as the Raymond Theatre.
Therefore, they will challenge the Motion for Attorney’s fees in court this
Theatre (also known as Perkins Palace) is an important Pasadena
landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 82-year
old venue has presented entertainment ranging from vaudeville shows to movies,
and in recent years has been one of L.A.'s top concert venues. Artists
such as Phil Collins, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, Willie Nelson, Tina
Turner and many others have performed at the theater. The Raymond Theatre was
sold in 1987 to Pasadena developers Gene and Marilyn Buchanan. A 15-year battle
by Friends of the Raymond Theatre has ensued, with the Sage Council and Forecast
joining the efforts in recent years. Friends of the Raymond Theatre, with over
6,200 members worldwide, has stopped two prior attempts to
redevelopment this landmark venue and won every hearing on the current project
in a three year-long process.
substantial merit to the original case brought by petitioners and we believe we
have a strong probability of prevailing on appeal," said attorney Craig
A. Sherman, who is representing Friends of the Raymond Theatre. "It was
quite shocking at trial for the City to suggest that Pasadena's city and
historic preservation ordinances did not apply to protect the Raymond Theatre.
Equally shocking is the fact that the developer and owner Buchanan placed an
irrevocable facade and open space easement around and over the outside of the
Raymond to ensure its protection, which should have been all that was necessary
for the City and Pasadena Heritage protect this theater. Instead it was
concluded all that needed to be preserved was the front shell or facade of the
building. These decisions warrant a challenge in appellate court.”
Friends of the Raymond Theatre is a historic preservation organization working
to protect, restore and revitalize Pasadena's Historic Raymond Theatre. The
organization was founded in 1987 and has more than 6,200 supporters in the
United States, Australia and Europe. More information about the theater and the
group can be found at
Zamparelli - Director, Friends of the Raymond Theatre:
P.O. Box 91189, Pasadena, Ca 91109
Klippstein - Director, Spirit of the Sage Council:
Frampton - Director, Forecast Foundation: