Church of Scientology affiliate buys historic LQ property

The Desert Sun, California/June 1, 2009

A multimillion-dollar historic La Quinta property with old ties to the Church of Scientology is going back to its roots.

Hacienda Serena, a nearly 2-acre property on Avenida Obregon, was purchased Dec. 31 for its appraisal price by the Church of Spiritual Technology, an affiliate of the Church of Scientology.

Though church officials have not disclosed the exact amount, they confirm it’s in the millions.

Plans are to restore the 3,450-square-foot adobe home, which was once owned by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard in the 1970s.

Church officials haven’t determined what the property will be used for and said no decisions have been made about whether it will become a new museum or spiritual retreat center, said Catherine Fraser, director of public affairs with Golden Era Productions, a production company created by Hubbard in Riverside County that provides all the audio/visual products for the Church of Scientology.

The acquisition of Hacienda Serena at 49-875 Avenida Obregon, a close neighbor of the historic La Quinta Resort & Club, is just one of several by the church as part of a project to "restore significant locations in L. Ron Hubbard’s development of Scientology," Fraser said.

Former owners Richard and Leslie Fredericks sold Hacienda Serena after a nearly six-year battle with the Santa Rosa Cove Association regarding access to an easement on Avenida Obregon and Calle Mazatlan.

The couple sued the association and received $1 million in compensatory and punitive damages, said Jeffrey Springer, the attorney who represented the couple in the case last year.

Richard Fredericks declined to comment about whether his conflict with the association or his view of the church prompted the couple to sell the home.

Hubbard moved into the estate in September 1976 and wrote more than 30 Scientology instructional films. He also completed the script for a full-length science fiction epic, "Revolt in the Stars."

In 1978, he established a film production studio in La Quinta and completed seven films by the end of the summer, according to a book titled "L. Ron Hubbard: A Lifetime of Creativity."

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