Pasadena Cultural Landmark, the Ambassador Auditorium, To List for Sale for $45 Million

Available For Purchase For The First Time in Two Decades, Historic Property Marks 50th Anniversary with Market Debut, Exclusively Listed with Isidora Fridman and Lauren Rauschenberg of Compass
Published on Jul 3, 2024

Just three blocks from the beautiful Arroyo Seco in West Pasadena, the “Carnegie Hall of the West,” a modernist marvel of steel and glass awaits its next act. The Ambassador Auditorium, once graced by the likes of Bing Crosby and Lucille Ball and Luciano Pavarotti, towers in a testament to architectural ambition and cultural aspiration.

Now this 1,200-seat venue, a jewel in the crown of Southern California’s performing arts scene, finds itself at a crossroads as it is now being listed for sale for the first time in two decades.

Enter Jones Fridman International & Associates at Compass, one of the country’s top teams as recognized by The Wall Street Journal with a billion-dollar portfolio and a penchant for high-stakes deals. Their mission: to find a buyer who can tune this grand instrument to the pitch of the 21st century while preserving its rich harmonic history. The price of admission to this exclusive club of cultural stewardship? $45 million.

Clearly, this is no ordinary property listing.

It’s a quest to find a new impresario an extraordinary boutique venture. Co-listing agents Isidora Fridman and Lauren Rauschenberg of Compass’ Jones Fridman International team, face a unique challenge that goes beyond mere square footage and return on investment.

The Ambassador Auditorium, built in 1974 by the architectural firm of Daniel, Mann, Johnson and Mendenhall, recently underwent a $4 million renovation to upgrade its energy systems.

The improvements, completed in November 2023, aimed to enhance efficiency and comfort for performers and audiences alike.
“These comprehensive measures were taken to optimize energy, water, and gas efficiency, ensuring fresh air circulation and infrastructure improvements that rival those of the Disney Concert Hall,” said Rauschenberg.

“The enhancements to the building’s infrastructure are designed to ensure its durability for the next 50 years, all while preserving its classic aesthetic and natural ambiance,” continued Rauschenberg.

The auditorium’s interiors, designed by Robert Smith of the American Society of Interior Designers, features intricate details that have been meticulously maintained.

The building is known for its exquisite materials, including exterior walls of emerald green granite from Brazil, rose onyx from Turkey and Iran in the lobby, and Brazilian rosewood and Burmese teakwood in the interior.

“It has the most beautiful carpets, and the rose onyx wall, the wood hand railing, and ceiling with a 24 Karat gold leaf,” Fridman noted.

A 500,000-gallon water feature, one of the largest in Los Angeles County, adds to the property’s allure.

“The sculpture of the Egrets brass, it raises and lowers. There are different colored lights for the fountains and the pools,” Rauschenberg explained.

While not listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Ambassador Auditorium is recognized as a cultural landmark. The distinction allows for potential modifications while preserving its historical significance.

Since 2004, Harvest Rock Church has owned and operated the venue, hosting a wide array of community events, including performances by regional symphony orchestras, school graduations, community awards, dance companies, corporate presentations, and a variety of other fine arts events.

“Harvest Rock Church has been pleased to be a partner in Pasadena caring for and making the Ambassador available to the community,” said Pastor Che of Harvest Rock Church via a press release. “Our mission has always been to serve the community through our ministry and host events that enrich the lives of those in our area. The Church will be relocating in order to make space for growing ministries. As we embark on our next journey, we look forward to passing this cherished building to a new steward who will continue its legacy of service and community engagement.”

The real estate team is targeting buyers who will continue the venue’s legacy.

“We would like someone to steward this recently upgraded iconic treasure in Pasadena,” Rauschenberg said. “We would like them to continue the legacy as Pastor Ché has.”

Despite not yet being officially listed on multiple listing services, the property has already garnered interest from various potential buyers. These include churches, private investors, and international clients, according to the real estate agents.

Fridman, with 35 years in the business, and Rauschenberg, a practicing attorney specializing in real estate law and estate planning, have been working together since 2010. Their international connections are expected to play a role in marketing the property.

“We are going to market it internationally and through our networking and through our CRM list of clients and investors and producers and everybody that we’ve been working for the last 30 years that are capable of owning and having,” Fridman explained.

The $45 million price tag was determined after careful analysis. “We ran comps — there really is nothing that compares, but we ran comps and ended up with the price of $45 million,” Rauschenberg said.

As the Ambassador Auditorium enters this new chapter, its stewards hope to find a buyer who will preserve its artistic and cultural significance. The sale represents a unique opportunity in the real estate market, combining historical importance, recent upgrades, and ongoing income potential.

Jones Fridman International & Associates | Compass

Isidora Fridman
(818) 402-4442

Lauren Rauschenberg
(310) 857-9355


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