Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cast Out by the Moneychangers

For your Sunday delectation, a church that is not a church.

On the corner of Holly Street and Marengo a block from City Hall, this one-time church-turned-office building appears to be another victim of either the recession or greed or both. There are a few of these around town--landlords who turned out tenants when they thought they could get a higher rent only to see the bottom drop out before they could fill those empty spaces again. Some of these places remain empty. Though it's not a generous sentiment for a Sunday, I don't hesitate to say it serves those landlords right.

But a healthy city has thriving businesses, not empty rental space. The building might be under new management so if I were looking for an office I'd start here. This unique building has different types of space for rent. I think the sanctuary's available. (It's a serene space, as you might expect. I used to practice yoga there.) The Holly Street Bar & Grill also occupies part of the building. Is it still in business? The web news is sketchy.

Don't be concerned that a church or two is up for sale or rent in Pasadena. We've got one every block or so and it appears attendance is good.

23 comments:

ben wideman said...

Oh my, if money wasn't an issue, I'd open a brewpub right there. I've always admired that building.

altadenahiker said...

Nice shot. I've always wanted to tour this building. Adjacent to it, a friend of mine had a high-end salon and she was kicked out by a greedy landlord. This was at least two years ago and tje owner hasn't been able to rent the place since.

Cafe Observer said...

Holly St B&G is still in biz BUT under a new name/management: Eden Garden B & G. It's Mediterranean & so I guess that's why it's called the Garden of Eden.

It's also in OT so I've never been to either one! Whether Twin Palms or HSBG, I keep saying restaurants is one biz I wood not wanna work/own.
It's easier to open a restaurant than it is to make it successful & keep it open.

FYI:
Eden Garden BG

You need to know what you're doing & stay on top of what's happening in your market - not just serve food.

tapirgal said...

What an interesting story. It does serve them right! I hope the old building gets tenants, though, because I'd hate to see such a lovely place fall apart. A few vines add character and beauty - a few more and it comes crashing down! We have a lot of empty buildings in our downtown area, but none as alluring as this one.

-K- said...

I hope it doesn't get bulldozed. It looks quite old and probably has a lot of nice, unreproducible details to it.

Petrea said...

After reading the comments I can say the good news is that Eden Garden Bar & Grill (the new name of Holly St. B&G) is at this address and the yelp reviews are good.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/eden-garden-pasadena

Therefore, Ben, you might have competition for your brewpub. But I'll bet Eden Garden serves beer. It's a good location, with indoor and outdoor seating in a pretty courtyard.

Karin, the courtyard has two parts and you can walk in the non-restaurant part. I took pics in there the other day.
I bet that was the same landlord. They kicked the salon out at the same time they kicked out the yoga place. Technically, what they did was raise the rents so high the tenants couldn't pay them. Neither could anyone else, apparently.

Thanks for the info, Cafe. Let's all go to Eden and support the place! Because tapirgal is right, we want to keep this building in good shape.

What I've seen of the inside has been renovated, K, but the outside and courtyards are still intact. And a few tenants remain, so I hope that keeps it afloat. I took a couple more pictures, maybe I'll post them this week.

Lori Webster said...

I, too, have always admired that building....it was a fantasy I had years ago of opening a shop there. Your photo emphasizes its beauty, Petrea.

I sense a movement growing against unreasonable landlords. Maybe public sentiment can do what common sense has been unable to do. I, for one, would be glad to see that come to pass.

Gunn said...

The photo and the window is beautiful!
I would like to have a very special place to live or to work..... Dreams.. :-)

Katie said...

Love this building and I'm glad I had a chance to see it in person. I'd happily work in the sanctuary, unless there's a cloisters in which case I'd prefer that sort of setting. But if Ben wants to open a brewpub there, I'd happily come down for the opening and not be too jealous that he stole my space.

Bellis said...

That's a brilliant title today, one that could apply to a lot of people and businesses right now. The lovely old church looks so English - we have a few disused ones there as well. As for the Eden Garden, perhaps we should go there for a bite to eat and watch people smoking hookahs?

freefalling said...

I love the little illuminated stone face.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I'm still a studio space renter.

The last studio I had was from 85-99. During "economic slumps" others would throw concrete down the drain and run in the night. It left the building half empty for months on end. Mr V and I always paid on time, so in appreciation they quit raising our rent. Then the owners sold the building during an economic upswing. The new management came in and told us we were getting away with murder and doubled our rent. I was never so insulted as then.

Pascal Jim said...

This building once was a mortuary operated by Turner and Stevens, the H.S.B. % Grill occupied the parking garage. This is a precious structure and should be on the National Register. Located just around the corner is the Pasadena YWCA, now being destroyed by neglect, every one should be making noise about THIS troubling situation...

TheChieftess said...

Pascal Jim's right about it once being a mortuary...about 5 years ago, I shared office space there with a therapist...I was her intern, and I had pretty much no enthusiasm to make a go of it...didn't realize I was as burned out as I was from my previous career in the education side of a psychiatric residential facility for adolescents placed by the court...photography and travel is oh, so much, more fun!!!

Latino Heritage said...

Great idea Ben. The McMeniamins in Oregon done a great job making your comment a reality. It would be great to see someone do something similar locally.
http://www.mcmenamins.com/

Petrea said...

Yeah, Lori. It's like these people don't know (or care) what people are saying about them. We have to talk to them with money. But you'd think these landlords would have heard "your building is empty" by now.

Me too, Gunn. Even when I was a kid I imagined something unusual for a live/work space.

Bellis: they smoke hookahs there? I'm still willing to give it a try but the hookahs really creeped me out at Zephyr. But Zephyr's not my favorite spot anyway.

(Freefalling) I'm so glad you noticed that, Letty.

I don't blame you, PA. Though you do make clear the landlord side of the story.

Pascal Jim, thanks for the info and the reminder of another building I need to get some pictures of. I'd love to get inside the Julia Morgan Y. That building is a heartbreak.

What was it like inside, Chieftess?

Ms. Pasadena Latina, I visited McMinnville, OR regularly when my mother lived there and I enjoyed the McMenamins often. Their style is to put a B&B type hotel (in a sort of western, 1890's style) into a--well, a sort of western, 1890's building and add a brewpub on the main floor.

TheChieftess said...

It was charming, old, a bit musty...I liked it...too bad I didn't like the work!!!

Unfortunately, sometimes it is financially to their advantage for landlords to leave buildings empty and get tax breaks for income loss...

AmyR said...

I for one would not mind working in an office with light filtering through the stained glass upon my desk. It looks like a pretty place.

Petrea said...

Chieftess, sounds nice inside. By the way, this building owner is one of the biggest property owners in town so your idea may be right on.

Amy, you might have to rent the sanctuary for that, but like I said I think it's available.

The Sage of Altadena said...

I've always wanted an interesting work space (my present one is a garage office shared with the occasional rat -- too interesting sometimes!) But I think a church sanctuary would be wonderful. Mary Englebreit, say what you want about her work, her studio is a deconsecrated Orthodox church with a big dome. THAT's the studio I want!

Ted Thompson said...

I always think of the organ. I used to tend to the one in the church I attended in my youth. Fortunately the building was purchased by another congregation and it didn't become condos or office space. But I doubt the instrument fits their needs and I have no idea what fate befell the organ which was built in 1908...

Petrea said...

Englebreit's studio sounds idyllic, and she's earned it. It's not always about the type of work, sometimes it's just about how hard you work. (If I'm right, Tim, you'll soon have your consecrated space.)

No clue what happened to the organ here, Ted. It wasn't there during yoga.

Thal Armathura said...

Petrea, this building was constructed as a mortuary, and was such until the 1980's when it was adaptively reused as a restaurant and bar. The picture you have of the stained glass window is from the mortuary chapel. I'll email you a historic photo from 1923 which shows part of the building and the whole intersectio.