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Friends Of The Raymond Theatre Receives Historic Preservation Award

Pasadena, CA (CelebrityAccess Staff Writers) — December 16, 2004 – The California Preservation Foundation has awarded Pasadena-based preservation organization Friends of the Raymond Theatre the 2004 "President's Award" for their 17-year effort to preserve Pasadena's Historic Raymond Theatre (aka Perkins Palace). The award is the highest award in the State of California presented in the field of historic preservation.

Founded in 1987 by the Raymond Theatre's former manager and concert promoter Gina Zamparelli, Friends of the Raymond Theatre's mission is to ensure protection, preservation and revitalization of Pasadena's Historic Raymond Theatre. With more than 7,000 members worldwide, Friends of the Raymond Theatre is one of largest preservation organizations working to preserve a single historic structure in the state of California.

Peyton Hall, President of The California Preservation Foundation, awarded Friends of the Raymond Theatre the "President's Award" at their 2004 annual award ceremony in San Francisco, CA. The California Preservation Foundation is the only organization that gives statewide recognition in the field of historic preservation.

The California Preservation Foundation award was the third award granted in recent years to Friends of the Raymond Theatre. In 2002, Friends of the Raymond Theatre President Gina Zamparelli was awarded "Best Citizen of the Year" for her work to preserve the Raymond Theatre, and in 2003, Friends of the Raymond Theatre was awarded "Best Preservation Organization in the City of Pasadena" by the Pasadena Weekly's annual community awards.

President, Gina Zamparelli, stated, " when we set out to preserve the Raymond Theatre, we never imaged the impact this one theatre in Pasadena would have upon so many! This project has come to represent what's possible when people work together to protect the places of our past. We are very grateful to the California Preservation Foundation for bestowing our organization with this award and equally thankful to our supporters who allow us to continue our goal of preserving the Raymond Theatre."

The Raymond Theatre is the oldest surviving theatre in Pasadena, California and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It opened its doors in 1921 and quickly became one of the West Coast's premiere theatres. It operated initially as Jensen's Raymond Theatre, presenting vaudeville programs and motion pictures, later becoming the Crown Theatre, showing movies and stage shows. In recent years, it was known as the concert venue Perkins Palace which presented some of the biggest names in entertainment such as Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins, Fleetwood Mac, Willie Nelson and Tina Turner.

In 1987, a local Pasadena developer purchased the Raymond Theatre as a redevelopment property. To date, the developer has not been amicable towards preserving the Raymond Theatre for live entertainment and continues to propose developments that would permanently alter the theatre.

Friends of the Raymond Theatre recognizes the importance of preserving the Raymond Theatre because of its long history of being a self-sustaining profitable venue, its role as the last 2,000-seat venue in the San Gabriel Valley, its need in the community and its historical and cultural significance.

Over the past 17 years, Friends of the Raymond Theatre have stopped two proposed developments (1987 and 1994) that would have led to the theatre's demise. Since 1999, they have opposed a current development that would convert the Raymond Theatre into a mixed-use condominium project.

Friends of the Raymond Theatre has not just advocated for preservation but have taken an active role in finding solutions. Over the past 17 years the group has provided the City of Pasadena, the developer and interested buyers with extensive business, financial, marketing, operational and demographic studies. They have secured a major concert promoter as a tenant, and have a management team and corporate sponsorship broker in place for a potential buyer. Friends of the Raymond theatre has brought over 30 buyers to the project and completed all due diligence on the property for permits, code work and restoration.

Friends of the Raymond Theatre has engaged both celebrities and entertainment business professionals in the project. They also legally defend the theatre and have two lawsuits currently in the courts. The project is supported entirely by donations from the public and fundraising events.

The current goal of Friends of the Raymond Theatre in 2005 is to see that the Raymond Theatre is sold to new ownership and revitalized, so that it may continue to serve as a historic and cultural resource to the City of Pasadena.

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