The Ambassador Auditorium and other key structures on the former Ambassador College campus in Pasadena have been purchased by a church and school, which plan to turn the vacant facilities into a private high school and concert venue.
Harvest Rock Church and Maranatha High School, both based in Pasadena, bought the 13-acre site with five buildings from Worldwide Church of God last week for an undisclosed amount.
The property is bounded by St. John Avenue, Green Street and Del Mar Avenue. To the west are 18 acres facing Orange Grove Boulevard that are still owned by the Worldwide Church of God, which closed the college in 1990.
Harvest Rock Church plans to use the auditorium for services on Saturday nights and twice on Sunday, said Senior Pastor Che Ahn, and the school may use it on weekdays.
It will be available on weeknights for musical events put on by other organizations that are consistent with the values of the evangelical Christian church, Ahn said. "We're not going to have Marilyn Manson," he said. "Classical, jazz -- all those things are fine."
The concert hall, built in 1974, will get an upgraded sound system but otherwise will be preserved and continue to be called Ambassador Auditorium, said Ahn, who described it as "impeccably kept."
The transaction, first reported in the Pasadena Star-News, included a 45,000-square-foot building once used as a dormitory that will be turned into classrooms and a 38,000-square-foot student center and cafeteria. The buildings also will house a library and science and computer labs. Other structures include an underground parking garage and a sports complex with a gymnasium, weight room and indoor swimming pool.
"These facilities have a long and proud history and a certain emotional attachment to the church," said Bernie Schnippert of the Worldwide Church of God, who said his church was "pleased that a faith-based organization will continue the tradition of a religious use of the property."
Maranatha High School is a nondenominational Christian high school with 500 students now operating on the Pasadena campus of William Carey International University.
Irvine developer Sares-Regis Group bought 11 acres of the Ambassador campus in February and announced plans for a residential and retail development on the property near the Old Pasadena commercial district.