Pasadena using eminent domain to seize historic YWCA building

Pasadena will use eminent domain to seize a historic YWCA building designed by famed architect Julia Morgan, it was reported today.

The vintage-1921 building at 78 N. Marengo Ave., near City Hall, has been boarded up for more than decade, and the city tried unsuccessfully to buy it for about $6 million, the Pasadena Star-News reported.

The owner, Angela Chen-Sabella, the daughter of a Hong Kong billionaire, bought the property in 1996 for $1.8 million, but wanted about twice what the Pasadena City Council was offering, the newspaper reported.

The City Council voted unanimously to force the sale.

The building, originally designed as a YWCA social center and boarding house, was designed by Morgan, who is probably best known for her work on Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Among the roughly 700 buildings she designed in California is the old Herald-Examiner building at Broadway and 11th Street in downtown Los Angeles.

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