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Shea to Help Develop Site in Pasadena

July 26, 2002|JESUS SANCHEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Worldwide Church of God has hired Shea Homes, one of Southern California's largest home builders, to help guide development of the church's historic Ambassador College site in Pasadena.

The church selected Shea Homes to act as its chief development consultant nearly three months after Foster City-based Legacy Partners abandoned plans to buy the 48-acre campus in west Pasadena and build a large-scale residential project. The Legacy proposal to build 1,700 housing units attracted growing interest among residents concerned about density and traffic congestion.

Unlike Legacy, Shea Homes will not purchase the property but will work for the church and be responsible for hiring architects and creating a master plan, as well as seeking necessary government entitlements and approvals, said Bernard W. Schnippert, director of finance and planning for the church.

Retaining ownership of the property "allows us to interface with the neighbors and the city more directly without someone between us," Schnippert said.

Schnippert said the church has not decided how many homes it will seek to build but the project will remain primarily residential, with historic buildings and the Ambassador Auditorium incorporated into a "garden residential community" on the west side of the freeway near Orange Grove Avenue. The church's property on the other side of the freeway will be more urban in character, he said.

The church closed the Pasadena campus in 1995 as revenue and church membership fell.

Shea Homes is based in Walnut, but Joe Shea, a principal and member of the company's founding family, is a Pasadena resident.

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