Newsong Church confirmed via news release Tuesday that the Santora Arts Building in downtown Santa Ana is in escrow, with a partnership formed by the church as the buyer.
Voice of OC reported Monday that the church was buying the historic building from Michael Harrah.
According to a Facebook post by Lead Pastor Dave Gibbons, Newsong leaders view the building as “an effective and efficient training space for equipping the next wave of misfit leaders especially artists, business people, and community development specialists.”
The post goes on to state that church leaders “will consider the development of a 300+ seat meeting facility that could accommodate weekend services as well as training during the week.”
But in its news release, church officials stated they do not yet have solid plans.
“At this stage of the process, we aren’t rushing into any particular plans for the building until we really get to know and understand the heart of the current tenants and community stakeholders,” Shaun King, director of communications for Newsong, declared in the release.
“When we learned that the building was for sale, we saw this as an opportunity to ensure that The Santora didn’t just become a random office complex with a rich history,” King stated, “but that it would serve as a regional and even an international hub for the creative community. Our dream is a harmonious community partnership at every level and we want to preserve the historical integrity of this beautiful building.”
The sale has already provoked criticism from Tim Rush, a member of the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society advisory board.
Rush was particularly incensed at the prospect that the church might build a meeting facility in the building. “I just say, shame on you, [present owner] Mike Harrah, that you would put at risk and destroy an architectural landmark in the city,” Rush said.