The United Artists of Santa Ana yesterday announced that the Irving Church NewSong, which was in escrow to purchase the historic Santora Building in downtown Santa Ana, had withdrawn from escrow. Here is the announcement:
The United Artists of Santa Ana (UASA) has been informed that NewSong Church of Irvine is withdrawing its bid to purchase the Santora Arts Building due to economic considerations that could not be resolved with the seller. While we felt that the sale of the building to a religious group would not be a good fit for the Santora, we respect NewSong’s leadership for understanding the validity of our concerns and working with UASA and the City to forge a meaningful agreement that would protect the nature of the Santora and the Artists Village.
UASA will continue to partner with the City and other business and civic leaders to form a Santora Steering Committee that will seek an arts-friendly investor who will secure the historic building’s future as an anchor for arts-based revitalization in the heart of Santa Ana.
After months of wrangling over the potential impact of a church purchasing the building at the heart of the Artists Village in Santa Ana, the church determined they weren’t going to get the bang for the buck they wanted from the purchase. In a Voice of OC article yesterday, Adam Elmahrek reported:
According to [NewSong Lead Pastor Dave] Gibbons, Harrah said the church would face little resistance from City Hall on their plans. But city officials maintained that the building has historic designations that protected it from development.
When faced with resistance from not only artists but also downtown business owners, Newsong leaders insisted they just wanted to save the building from corporate interests that would erase the building’s artistic character. But the artists weren’t mollified, and some threatened angry street protests if the sale went through.
It would be nice if the City Council were to pass a resolution declaring that they intend to ensure that the uses of the Santora Building remain conducive to the nature and spirit of the Artists Village as a cultural and artistic hub in the community. We’ll see if they’ll go that far.