Fri. Mar 24th, 2023

UPDATE: 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, according to the Voice of OC.

Somewhere former Santa Ana Councilman Ted Moreno is smiling.  The Voice of OC is reporting that Irvine’s Newsong Church is buying the Santora Building, which is a key component of Downtown Santa Ana’s Artists Village.  Moreno, as you might recall, mightily opposed the Artists Village when it was being planned.  Moreno, a devout Christian, contended that the Artists Village was nothing more than an attempt by homosexuals to take over Downtown Santa Ana.

In recent years, the Artists Village has seen a few galleries come and go while a lot of restaurants and bars have opened up, including a gay bar, the Velvet Lounge.  And yes, quite a few homosexuals have moved into the Downtown area.  But it would be a stretch to argue that they have taken over – although one of our readers coined the phrase “gaytrification” to describe what has been happening in the area.

Now a very significant and well-funded church is coming to town – and taking over the building many consider to be the fulcrum of the Artists Village.  And as it turns out, one of our current Council Members, David Benavides, is a member of the Newsong Church.  Should the artists be freaking out right about now?

Maybe.  A contract between the Santora’s owner, Mike Harrah, and the City of Santa Ana, that guaranteed that the Santora would remain dedicated to the arts, has expired.  And Governor Jerry Brown got rid of redevelopment, which funded a lot of development in the Downtown area.  Some of the galleries at the Santora have not been paying their rent.  I can’t imagine that a new landlord would put up with that for long.

But Benavides told the Voice of OC that he thinks the Newsong Church supports the arts and would continue to make the arts part of what goes on at the Santora.  However, the Voice of OC also reported that Newsong lead pastor Dave Gibbons (pictured above with a few friends, at the Santora building) made a comment on his Facebook page about wanting to build a 300 seat meeting facility at the Santora.  Gibbons also apparently divulged that his church is paying over six million dollars for the Santora building.  That figure represents a lot of tithing.

I visited the Newsong Church in Irvine once.  They have a lot of Asians in their membership, including quite a few Koreans.  They like modern rock style music.  Folks that go there really like it.  I prefer the historic First Baptist Church of Santa Ana, which also has modern music at their 11 am Sunday service.

This would not be the first church that Harrah has sold a historic building to.  He sold the old Masonic Temple in Downtown Santa Ana to the Scientoligists a few years ago.  The building is still largely mothballed but I hear that the Scientologists are finally making improvements to the property.  You still see the Scientologists trying to hawk Spanish versions of their “Dianetics” book at local festivals.  I am sure they will be there in Downtown for the upcoming Cinco de Mayo Festival.  I will ignore them as usual.

While Usual Suspect Tim Rush had a royal cow, over at the Voice of OC, regarding the impending Newsong purchase of the Santora, I think it is fine.  I have no problem with it.  And it will be royally funny watching the Newsong crowd trying to get along with the likes of Theo Hirsch, Alicia Rojas and Matt Southgate…

By the way, didn’t a church group ruin the historic Yost Theater until it was purchased and turned into a concert hall and bar?

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

24 thoughts on “Santora building reportedly being purchased by Benavides’ Newsong Church”
  1. Jose,

    Ted is very much a devout Christian. He did make mistakes and he did pay for them. He served his time and now he is moving on with his life and doing very well for himself and his family.

    Clearly you don’t know much about Ted other than the propaganda pushed by his detractors.

    Why all this anger towards him after all these years?

  2. Ted moreno is no Christian nor is he a hero and he wasn’t “set up” as you keep saying. He did years in prison for a reason. True Christians don’t break the law like he did but what would you know what a true Christian is?

  3. Mill, “propaganda “? I voted for the creep I helped put him in that council seat I believed in that “Christian” and he screwed us all. He was mentioned in this post and that’s why I responded. I’m suprised my comment was even put up since ice pretty much been blocked from commenting on here. Ted Moreno was a person this city needed and look what he did. At least he never sold out to the tiny dark lord like sal tinajero has ill give him credit for that but to see you sellout mill is even sadder.

    1. He didn’t screw anyone. Moreno got set up. He was entrapped. Did he err? Of course. And he paid the price for it. But you have forgotten that for many years Moreno was the ONLY resistance in our city, to the powers that be. And they were the ones who set him up. In fact the informant who set him up tried to do the same thing to my friend Lou Lopez, who at the time was an Anaheim Council Member. But Lopez was a cop and he knew better than to bite on the trap. Moreno unfortunately made a big mistake.

      Now Sal and Sean did NOT sell out. Nor did I. The reality is that back in the day Pulido was allied with mostly white Republicans. Today those guys are on the outside looking in and Pulido is part of an all-Latino council that is actually quite moderate but is progressive when it counts. They threw out the bums from City Hall and from our City Commissions. You ought to be thanking them you bitter ingrate.

  4. Life moves on. 6 million seems a little pricey, guess that leaves alot on the back side for future favors.

    What happens to the tons on money that the city contributed in restoring and adding to the facilities. is there any return to the taxpayers?

  5. “Pulido is part of an all-Latino council”….. Hmmmm

    Same as Latino Fidel, Latinos never know when to quit their service to the nation and when they do they leave behind poverty and despair.

    Latinos are handicap to the worlds humanity.

  6. I agree ted moreno was the only resistance to the powers that be that’s what made him so important to all of us that’s what made him so important to our city. He could have walked away from breaking the law but he didn’t did he? Quit making excuses for him. He screwed us all becauseas we can all see we shure could use a guy like him now our council and mayor are a joke. And yes tinajero did sell us all out another person I voted in who ended up worshiping at the alter of the tiny dard lord in the end. I’ve always had a lot of respect for mill but it’s truly sad to see him take this path. You on the other hand pedroza this is expected of you. You and this blog are nothing but a propaganda machine for pulido and his minions. And you have the nerve to call me an ingrate and say I should be thankful? You should be so lucky to have my morals and integrity.

    1. You can’t get things done if all you do is oppose everything. We got rid of Ream and the Usual Suspects and our Council is making headway on the budget. That is real progress that you should be applauding.

  7. A federal jury on Tuesday convicted Santa Ana Councilman Ted R. Moreno on 25 counts of extortion, money laundering and mail fraud stemming from an elaborate scheme to win majority control on the City Council.

  8. Dear Mr. Cook,

    Would you please provide the readers with the list of felonies that Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society Board Member Tim Rush was jailed for.

    I believe it pertained to an elaborate scheme to illegally line his pockets with other people’s money.

  9. ” alt=”null” />

    I hear Tim Rush prefers French dressing when he tossed the salad in jail. Is Tim still the Usual Suspect’s hero?

  10. Well, I just checked out the NEWSONG website and I would much rather see the Childrens ministry chick and Emily walking around DTSA than Andrew and Chris (strangely the rest of the staff look just like them!).

    Welcome to Santa Ana Newsong. Maybe you can take a short walk to the civic center and begin your great work with those needy people before the move to the Great Pork.

    Joe Hill

  11. Councilman Moreno was right. I’ll say it again. Ted was right! Sean Mill was right. Tony Espinoza was right. Art Palacios was right. Hector Olivares was right. Desi Reyes was right. The people who supported the arts use in downtown should apologize to Former Councilman Moreno. Don Cribb should apologize to him. I want back all of the tax money spent on the village of Artists. What a waste! I welcome the church and encourage others to attend once they open.

  12. Hey Sean. Why do the Usual Suspects attack Moreno while overlooking Tim Rush’ felony conviction?

  13. Well, you can scratch Andy of your list Wannabee, he’s scrubbed his FACEBOOK and hasn’t been seen on Grand Street for a while, maybe his Mom and Dad found out that he was running with the “Artists”, maybe he was exposed for running the Santa Ana Register Blog, when he lived at the beach.

    Maybe he was just exposed.

    Most likely he realizes the loser publication he works for was getting ready to fire him, along with his breathren.

    So Maybe Wannabee, you have a new group of Santa Ana fans in Irvine with NEWSONG coming in, hopefully they spend some money there. What, no PINKBERRY???

  14. First,

    Call me Mike, Call me Junior, Call Me Skallywag, call me a racist, Call me a homophobe, Call me a norrow minded Catholic who thinks the city should pay for Mater Dei football, but don’t call me ANTI SANTA ANA.

    This city has been overtaken by unsavory types likes the Gays at the Santora, next thing you know they’ll want to get married.


    Newsong is NOT A CHURCH, they don’t even have a football team.


    Koreans are known to carry desiese and eat dogs, I should know I fought there in 56… Just kidding, I am 70 years old not 80.


  15. “Umm, That is not what Admin’s post was about Fiala. Take it easy brother.”…….. Hmmmmmm

    mateo, the Admin posts are always about that!

    That is why he always emphasizing word LATINO in every crapola he prints!

    It should state: “Pulido is part of an all-American council”

    in oppose to “Pulido is part of an all-Latino council”

    But, you can’t change Mexican National Socialist to be an American even though he claims he was born here.

  16. You call this journalism???

    Our blog is where you will find all the latest updates on the local ASB elections.

    Later today we will be posting our exclusive interview with Timmy a candidate for Milk Monitor at College Park Elementary.

    Full disclosure, I was Timmy’s kickball “coach”.

  17. In 1972 I was a starving young artist living in the old 3rd street building now gone. Back then the Santora building was a boarded up dilapidated building, except for a thrift store next to the main entrance. In 1975 a businessman named Henry Stotsenburg from Hawaii bought the building (he bought the entire block except the old mission building on sycamore street). We received a notice of our new landlord stating he was going to restore the block with the santora being his main focus to revive the community.
    I spent the weekend restoring the main entry columns to their original look based on library news reports of the 1926 grand opening description. The following Monday morning Henry Stotsenburg woke me up as I slept at the entry to not miss him. I introduced myself and showed him what I did. He invited me upstairs to his makeshift office, and he asked if I could restore the building to its original look. I told him I had already been to the library and got newspaper reports and description of the 1926 grand opening.
    He asked if I could do the job and if I knew craftsmen that could do the job. I said yes I had skilled artist friends that could do it. He offered me the job of restoring all the columns in the building to their original look (at that time they were all painted off white, so was the ceiling (which originally was 3 times of blue) and all the stained glass ceiling panels and wood trim) with missing sections from years of remodeling, the hardwood floors were covered in 3 layers of linoleum covering.
    I and my artist friends spent 8 months living in the santora working all hours of the night restoring it to its original newspaper description and black and white photos. In 1976 he had a grand opening celebrating the restoration.
    Henry was the original visionary for the art center and historical restoration of downtown Santa Ana, he created the cultural artsy community that later it turned into

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