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Mid Century Modern Church by Reginald F. Inwood in Canoga Park To Be Demolished???

[Update April 21, 2015]: The original plans for 132 condo units have been changed to 77 single family homes with more details found here

[Update April 7, 2014]: This church was demolished sometime in early 2014. You can view details and pictures here

[Original Post]:

The 500 year old live oak tree. 
Image courtesy Google Maps
Image courtesy Google Maps
Earlier in the week when I was reviewing the City Planning Commission minutes from April 25, 2013 which talked about demolishing the original Pinecrest School in Van Nuys to make way for a new housing development, I stumbled across another housing development project at 20600 - 20620 Roscoe Blvd in Canoga Park which is currently home to the Filipino International Christian Church which is also shared by other churches. 

This church was originally started by St. Johns in the Valley United Methodist which was designed by Reginald F. Inwood in 1959 which features amazing elements of mid century modernism. There is also a 500 year old oak tree on the site. 

From the City Planning notes
This project (which I believe started in August 21, 2012) involves the development of 96 condominium units in two buildings in the proposed R3-1 Zone, 15 detached condominium units in the proposed RD3-1 Zone, and 7 detached condominiums in the proposed RD5-1 Zone for a total of 118 residential condominium units on a 186,224 square foot lot (or 3.5 acres). The existing church facility will be demolished. 
This property was deeded by St Johns in the Valley United Methodist Church to the Santa Barabara District Union of The United Methodist Church on June 30, 2008. On December 27, 2010, this property was sold to 20600 Roscoe Village LLC for $3,600,036. 

So lets do some math here. Assuming the following: 

Construction costs (including all miscellaneous costs)  $200/sqft 
x average 1,500 sqft/unit 
x 118 units 
= $35,400,000 
+ $3.6 million for land purchase 
= $39 million. 

Then each unit is sold on average for $400,000 x 118 units = $47,200,000. 

The total net profit equates to $47,200,000 - $39,000,000 = $8.2 million which can vary depending on actual construction costs and selling prices. A nice pay day for demolishing our history. 

It appears that this church will be demolished which will be a sad day to lose yet another historical building of architectural significance. I know a church can be easily relocated and the community is what makes the church not the other way around, but we are losing art on a daily basis. Oh, and whats going to happen to that 500 year old tree?

You can view more SFV Architecture and Real Estate here

The fine folks at Survey LA documented this property with the following: 

St. Johns in the Valley Methodist Church is located at 20600 Roscoe Boulevard in the Winnetka area of the west San Fernando Valley. The three and a half acre parcel fronts Roscoe Boulevard to the north and is bounded by Lanark Street to the south. The nearest cross street is Mason Avenue, to the east. The church campus is flat and contains a two-story church building and four, one-story classroom buildings. Together, the buildings form a horseshoe-shaped plan. The complex is surrounded by an asphalt driveway with parking at the perimeter of the property. The northeast corner of the parcel contains a residential building from the 1940s, which is not a contributing feature to the historic district. 

The Mid-Century Modern church was designed by Reginald F. Inwood in 1959. Decorative elements include a large cylindrical glass atrium at the front, metal spiderleg supports that protrude over side walkways, and a minimally-designed metal spire. A set of adjacent rear classroom buildings are linked to the church by exterior covered walkways. The walkway continues to a set of similar detached classrooms at the rear of the campus designed by Albert Hoover in 1966. The classrooms feature pronounced dividing walls and floor to ceiling windows. 

A communal courtyard with a grass lawn and benches lie at the center of the campus. The landscaping is composed of mature trees, palms, and shrubbery.

St. Johns in the Valley Methodist Church is an excellent example of Mid-Century Modern architecture applied to an ecclesiastical campus. The property is also significant for its role in fostering ethnic and religious diversity in the area, with a history of supporting fair housing practices and sharing its facilities with congregations of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The architect of St. John’s in the Valley was Reginald F. Inwood, a Southern California architect who designed a number of ecclesiastical buildings and campuses. St. Johns was constructed in 1959, a year after the construction of Inwood’s Santa Anita Church of Religious Science in Arcadia. Similar notable design elements such as the prominent cylindrical glass atrium are present in both churches. The period of significance for the buildings’ architectural significance is 1959-1966 to include the classroom buildings that were built during a later phase of construction. 

The property for St. Johns Church was purchased in 1957. At its start, the core membership was made up of families that had relocated to the Valley from the Midwest to work in the aerospace industry. In the coming years, the church would play an important role in the development of the area – specifically as a support base for developing a more diverse demographic in the Valley. In 1964, St. John’s members showed their support of fair housing laws by opposing a petition that sought to repeal the Rumford Act. In 1972, the church joined with many others in the Valley to hold interfaith worship services in hopes that fellowship would form in their community among people of various ethnic and religious backgrounds. As of today St. Johns Church shares its facility with the Filipino International Christian Church. The period of significance for the building’s ethnic/cultural significance is 1959 -1972.

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Marty Mcfly

Anything and everything about the San Fernando Valley. This blog will take you back in time when the valley was covered with dirt and orange groves to a leader in the space race to its current status as America's suburb. Come along and join me on this adventure, I guarantee you have been influenced/impacted by the San Fernando Valley in one form or another even if you have never visited or heard of the SFV.

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