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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

Therefore, the Pasadena Fire Department closed the theatre and all shows were canceled. Folgner later won a lawsuit, which stated the seats were covered in appropriate material and won a court settlement.  The Fire Departments closure lost deposits on many shows that were booked. Folgner relinquished the theatre back to AJB Enterprises completely restored and fully operational.

In 1994, AJB Enterprises proposed selling the Raymond Theatre to a nightclub owner that was going to modernize the theatre for use as nightclub with, pool tables on the balcony and big screens on the historic theatre walls.  Friends of the Raymond did not feel this was the best long-term use of The Raymond Theatre, for both the community and the surrounding neighborhood.  The City granted approval of the project, but the potential new owner chose not to pursue the project any further.

In 1999, the Buchanan/Perkins Limited Partnership proposed to convert the Raymond Theatre to an apartment/retail complex. Friends of the Raymond Theatre fiercely fought the project through a five-year long hearing process. Over 7,000 supporters nationwide came forth to lend their support. Five to seven hours of testimony was given at each hearing by preservationists and the live entertainment industry, all supporting the viability of retaining the Raymond Theatre as a theatre venue.

Friends of the Raymond Theatre, won every hearing before the Historic Preservation Commission, Design Review Commission, Zoning Hearing Officer and Board of Zoning Appeals. In spite of overwhelming evidence in the record that the theatre could be retained and operated with no cost to the city and buyers requesting to purchase of the venue, the Pasadena City Council voted in favor of redevelopment of The Raymond Theatre in January 2002.

Friends of the Raymond Theatre filed a lawsuit against the City of Pasadena and the AJB Enterprises on February 7, 2001. The hearing was held on February 11, 2003.  Superior Court Judge Janavs ruled the City of Pasadena acted lawfully in allowing permits and variances to develop the Raymond Theatre to an apartment / retail complex. On May 27, 2003, Friends of the Raymond Theatre filed a write of mandate to the Appellate Courts.

AJB, owners of the Raymond Theatre decided in February 2004, that they would not await the Appellate Court decision pending on their project and will move forward on plans to start construction of their project.   March 2004 the project went before the Pasadena Design Commission for Conceptual Design Review and was found to be inconsistent with prior approvals granted by the City Council. 

The project was appealed to the City Council, who once again granted approval of approval of Conceptual Design Review.  In 2004, Friends of the Raymond Theatre and the Forecast Foundation filed a second lawsuit, claiming the project had breached CEQA requirements and consistency findings.

Recently, a local newspaper found that illegal donations were made from AJB Enterprises to several of the Pasadena City Council Members, who have been voting on this project for years.

June 2005, AJB Enterprises proclaimed '"the project they have been proposing cannot be built as designed." A new architect was hired and the City deemed the project required major modifications and the filing of a new application. By law, filing a new application and making major modifications to a project requires, original decision maker approval, by either the Zoning Hearing Officer, or the City Council. However, the city staff directed the Design Commission to vote that the project required major modifications, but to treat it as project with minor modifications. This way, the project would not require original decision maker approval and could skip over mandatory review process.

In short, the project is currently moving forth with no review for consistency with CEQA, Mitigation Measures, parking or use of neighboring alleyways. There has been no evaluation if the project is consistent with original Conditions of Approval for height, square footage, or for proper usage of space inside the Raymond Theatre. The City has also eliminated the Raymond Theatre from any public Design Review process.

The City has eliminated the Raymond Theatre from any public Design Review process. Recently the City issued two building permits to remove the old marquee, the blocked windows on the facade and retrofit the parapet of the theatre. The city granted these two building permits, so AJB would not lose their Conditional Use Permit which was about to expire. However, Conditions of Approval for this project state that "no building permits are to be issues until final Design Review has commenced and building permits are issued." Building permits were issued before Design Review started, which clearly breached the cities Conditions of Approval for this project.

To date the scope of work ongoing at the Raymond Theatre, has exceeded the (illegal building permits that were granted. To date, our understanding is that the paint on the theatres facade was removed, when only testing for the removal of paint be allowed. The parapet was not retrofitted, it was demolished. Asbestos abatement commenced with no State permit. Over 40 holes were bored into the theatre for testing, also without permit. The 1921 seats, doors, drapery, fixtures and sections of the balcony flooring and back wall of the balcony were removed. There are reports work has been more extensive, due to photos of materials in the dumpsters, which included wood that may be from the stage and the balcony railing.

To date, the City of Pasadena refuses issue a "stop work permit" or fine AJB. The Historic Preservation Office of the City of Pasadena stated at a recent hearing "if any illegal demolition or alteration of the theatre has taken place, the City will grant permits to make it legal." The City Council, the city Building and Historic Preservation Department and Pasadena Heritage have been alerted to the problem. To date, no agency is willing to stop the demolition or alternation of Raymond Theatre. Friends of the Raymond Theatre are asking the Appellate Courts to file a court ordered stay to stop the demolition immediately.

Our mission has always been to advocate for preservation of the Raymond Theatre and uphold the laws that govern the protection of  this historic resource. Friends of the Raymond Theatre are currently fundraising money to continue to protect and defend the rights of the Raymond Theatre. We are also holding media conferences with celebrities and searching for a buyer to save the theatre in it's final hour.


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