Legacy Partners Withdraw
From Ambassador Campus Sale
Following is a press release concerning the Ambassador Campus sale. We wanted you to be among the first to know about this development. Questions from the press or other outside sources should be directed to Bernie Schnippert, Director of Finance and Planning, at 626-304-4011.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bernard Schnippert
Worldwide Church of God
Legacy Partners Withdraw From Ambassador Campus Sale
Church To Press On With Planned Residential Development
Pasadena, Calif. (April 29, 2002) The Worldwide Church of God, owner of the Ambassador Campus in west Pasadena, today announced that Legacy Partners, which had been under contract with the Church to purchase the property and develop it into a luxury residential development, allowed their contract to expire and withdrew from any participation in the project.
"In the end, Legacy found the twin pressures of time and financial investment just too much to make the deal work for their bottom line," according to Bernard Schnippert, Director of Finance and Planning for the Church. "This is too bad," he added, "since the plan is a good one, well within the guidelines of the West Gateway Specific Plan, using fully qualified design, environmental, and traffic consultants and engineers, and replete with numerous public benefits such as gardens, open spaces, historic properties, and of course, the unequaled Ambassador Auditorium."
The Church intends to move forward with the plan without Legacy, although it does not intend to abandon its other options, which it calls "strictly backup plans for now." Schnippert adds, "We have stated publicly that the Ambassador Plan as put forth is really the best for the community, and thus our first option," Schnippert remarked, "and we are thus pressing forward with the plan, even without Legacy."
The development plan, which was put forth by the Church and Legacy over three years ago, called for a residential project spanning both sides of the 710 freeway, and included retention of numerous historical properties, acclaimed gardens, and the preservation and reactivation of the renowned Ambassador Auditorium.
Schnippert believes that most of the city and the neighborhood will be saddened to learn about the loss of Legacy, since it received broad community support, "with the exception of some," he added, "who hadn't yet come to fully understand the benefits of the project and the economic realities of its development."
The Church believes that proceeding with the existing plan is very practical since the Church intends to "slip into Legacy's shoes" and move forward with the same Environmental Impact Report, the same development agreement framework, the same Community Facilities District financing for the Auditorium plan, the same excellent traffic mitigation approach, and the same commitment to save the gardens and historic structures. "Despite Legacy's withdrawal, we believe that there is a basis for cooperation between the City, the Community, and the Church to bring about the planned development we have previously put forward, although, with perhaps some fine tuning in an area or two of neighborhood concern."
Although the Church is disappointed by the loss of Legacy, it is nonetheless still upbeat about its chances of success. "We believe the public statements by the neighbors saying they didn't want to kill the plan," Schnippert added, "and also believe we are refining a plan that a consensus of responsible parties will eventually come to understand and embrace."
When asked about any concerns the Church might have regarding various neighbors who have spoken publicly about the project, Schnippert remarked "We expect the interested parties will move closer together as the plan moves along, not farther apart. At least, this is our goal."
"Legacy is gone," said Schnippert, "but the Plan is still alive for now, albeit under new stewardship. The Church believes this project should and will succeed."
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