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Phone (818) 541-9522
Fax (818) 541-9524
Email RaymondTheatre@aol.com

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 91189
Pasadena, California 91109-1189
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-6pm

Website by Southdown Enterprises®

 

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.

In 1999 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.

Friends 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 courts.

In June 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 development.

Plans 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.

The 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.

In 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.

AJB 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 Design Commission.

Friends 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.

The Design Commission will review this application at a public hearing on:

DATE: 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.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Friends of the Raymond Theatre:
Phone: (818) 541-9522
Fax: (818) 541-9523
E-mail: RaymondTheatre@aol.com
Website: www.raymondtheatre.com

Photos: http://homepage.mac.com/henrycjensen/PhotoAlbum1.html


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 Preservation".

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 historic preservation.

Founded 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.

Peyton 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 preservation.

The 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."

The 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 Tina Turner.

In 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.

Friends 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.

Over 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.

Friends 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.

Friends 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.

The 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 Pasadena.


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.

The 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.

The project 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 approvals.

Instead, the developers immediately appealed to City Council, where Design Review was approved and the project found consistent.

In 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 Historic Buildings.

Friends of 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.

The lawsuit 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 subdivided."

Acting on 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:

The Raymond 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.

Artists 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.

A 17-year 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 Council proceedings.

As local 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.

The city's 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.

The Commission's April 14 decision acknowledged receipt of the revised plan, but outlined 19 additional conditions for approval.

The Commission's decision was called up for review by councilmember Chris Holden on April 19.

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.

The impact 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.

The Raymond 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.

Oingo 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 plans.

The City 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."

The 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 multi-use venue.”

"The 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 efforts."

In response 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.

All three 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 July.

The Raymond 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.

"There is 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 www.raymondtheatre.com

CONTACTS:  
Gina Zamparelli - Director, Friends of the Raymond Theatre:
P.O. Box 91189, Pasadena, Ca 91109
(818) 541-9522
RaymondTheatre@aol.com
www.raymondtheatre.com
Attorney Craig Sherman: (619) 702-7892
Leeona Klippstein - Director, Spirit of the Sage Council: (626) 676-4116
Robert Frampton - Director, Forecast Foundation: (626) 794-7835