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Will All Saints expansion clash in Pasadena's historic core?

August 26, 2011 |  1:37 pm

All saints 
A decade after announcing an ambitious expansion effort, one of Pasadena’s oldest and most widely known churches is on the brink of breaking ground on the $45-million project.

But now some city preservationists are worried that the proposed buildings at All Saints Episcopal Church will clash with the majestic look of the surrounding architecture in the city’s historic core.

All Saints officials expect that by October they will have the final environmental impact report for the project, which includes four multi-story buildings for classrooms, offices and event space; a columbarium; and a one-level subterranean parking lot.

“We have such a desperate need for the buildings and desire to get it done; it’s a shame it’s taken this long,” Bob Long, a member of the parish’s building committee, told the Pasadena Sun.

Long said the church has raised nearly half the $45-million construction cost, but has now suspended the fundraising campaign until the environmental review process is complete.

Sue Mossman, executive director of the preservation group Pasadena Heritage, is concerned the new structures won’t be compatible with the architecture in the Civic Center area. Pasadena Heritage put the church, built in 1924, on its 2011 watch list of endangered landmarks.

“It’s considered one of the best examples in the county of the City Beautiful Movement of the 1920s,” Mossman said. “It feels like a unique, special place that has a unifying character all its own. When you add new buildings to a district, great sensitivity is required to make them compatible.”

Long said church leaders believe the new buildings will enhance the Civic Center area.

“We have a forward-looking parish that is well grounded historically,” Long added. “We don’t see a clash between the old and new.”

The City Council is expected to vote on whether to approve the report later this year or early in 2012.


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--Adolfo Flores 

Photos: All Saints Episcopal Church. Credit: Raul Roa/Pasadena Sun