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Pasadena's Raymond: Recreating Urban Places

December 17, 2001

As a local resident and architect, I'm disturbed that the historical society may continue to hold the Raymond Theatre hostage after years of being a dark front on Raymond Avenue in Pasadena (Dec. 12). "Facade-otomy" should be called "adaptive reuse" of the historical fabric. There was a similar "facade-otomy" performed on the La Reina on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks more than a decade ago. The theater front became the front for a Gap store and appears in man-on-the-street interviews in the news all the time. I enjoyed the La Reina's second life as a classic movie screen when I was a teen, but that life ended due to the disparity between cheap tickets and high rent.

The La Reina was no longer viable as a theater, and it's apparent the Raymond isn't either. In Sherman Oaks, getting the street revitalized with another use was essential and has been proven out in the sustained popularity of the area.

Creating and recreating urban places is much more than trying to thoroughly preserve a historical entity that has long since failed to be economically viable.

Douglas Roberts

Pasadena

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