Nearby Developments

December 14, 2008

(Updated December 14, 2008)

  • Bowling Alley
  • In the fall of 2008 the "Bahama Lanes" bowling alley in the Hastings Ranch shopping center (just east of Ralphs) was shut down for renovation.  It is to reopen under the name "300 Pasadena".
  • According to the August 2008 city staff report for a Conditional Use Permit:
    • 6 lanes will be walled off to create a bowling area for special events
    • The total number of lanes will be reduced from 32 to 31
    • Interior walls will be removed from the restaurant and bar area
    • The 22 ft sign on Foothill is to be replaced with an eight foot monument sign.
  • Former Pacific Hastings Theater
  • The Pacific Hastings Theater was located in the large building off Rosemead just east of Robin's restaurant, north of the bowling alley, west of Ralphs and the suchi restaurant.
  • It was shut down in June 2007 and has been vacant since.
  • There were problems with vagrants and vandalism.  In the summer of 2008 it was fenced off and security was added.  It has been used a few times for movie/film production.
  • The owner of the property reportedly wanted to lease the property for a Babies R Us, but that usage does not conform with the East Pasadena Specific Plan, which governs that location.
  • Former Baker's Square -> Stonefire Grill
  • Baker's Square was between Carl's Jr. and Trader Joes on Rosemead.  It was shut down in early 2007.
  • In early October 2008 there was notice that a restaurant named Stonefire Grill will be locating there.
  • According to an LA Times article on November 17, 2008:
    • Stonefire Grill is a small L.A. and Orange County chain of "fast-casual" restaurants.  This will be the 6th location.
    • Example main dishes given are mesquite-grilled tri-tip or chicken cooked with lemon and garlic.
    • The owner described the restaurant this way: "We are a fast-casual, order-at-the-counter, get-your-own-drink and get-your-own-condiments style of restaurant. We take care of the rest ourselves. Our menu is simple. The service is simple. We make really good meals that you could make at home but are better than what you might have prepared."
    • Most employees are teenagers or college students working only a few hours a week.  Tips are optional.
    • 10 to 50% of orders are for takeout.
  • According to an application for a Conditional User Permit to sell alcohol (beer and wine) for on-site consumption with food (which was granted in November 2008):
    • Operating hours are to be Sunday - Thursday from 11 am - 9:30 pm.  Friday and Saturday from 11 am - 10 pm.
    • Planning to increase the interior eating space by 1214 sq ft and add an exterior eating space of 1036 sq ft, resulting in total space of 7054 sq ft.
    • The restaurant will be required to have 71 parking spaces. Obviously some of the current spaces will be eliminated to add space to the restaurant. But the city staff report says that is ok because the shared parking space for Trader Joe, Ethen Allen, Robyn's etc has more then enough spaces for all of them.
    • The restaurant also has to add a 12'x30' loading space. (Hmm, if Trader Joe's has a loading space that size it clearly isn't sufficient for it.)
    • The building is reportedly going to get an "altered facade" which is to improve the exterior design.
    • There will not be a separate bar area.
  • Nordstrom's Rack coming to Hastings Village?
  • An KABC channel 7 online story on Friday Nov 21, 2008 states that a Nordstrom Rack store will be opening in Hastings Village Shopping Center. (Guessing the now empty former Wickes furniture store).
  • Story says it will be 42,000 sq ft and is expected to open next fall.
  • Nordstrom Rack is said to carry discounted / sales items no longer sold in the regular Nordstrom stores.
  • "Allstate" building
      The mid 1950s brick building along Sierra Madre Blvd across from Hermanos and Las Lunas streets that has been empty since Allstate moved out around 1991.  The address is 600 N. Sierra Madre Villa Ave.  There are also two newer (late 1980s) buildings on the property at 580 N Sierra Madre Villa and at 565 N. Rosemead.

 

      The new owner of the property, Cogent Inc. moved into the 580 N. Sierra Madre Villa building in the August/September 2008 timeframe.  It is unknown if they are also now using 565 N. Rosemead.  In October 2008 they erected a wrought iron fence around the property including automatic security gates, shutting off the custom of traversing the parking lots by local residents.  Their moving in seems to indicate their expectation of redeveloping the property (described below) has at least been postponed for a significant time.  There has never been any communication by them with our neighborhood or our City Councilman.

 

        On June 18, 2007 a Pre-Plan Review appeared on the City Council agenda for this property and the property immediately south (originally Burroughs but more recently known for 24 Hr Fitness and Earthlink headquarters).  The item was withdrawn at the developer's request before the Council meeting, so the review did not occur.   The proposed re-development was massive.

        • Here is the agenda report, and a picture of the concept drawing (which is unintelligible in that online agenda report).
        • The proposal would demolish all buildings and trees on the block between Sierra Madre Villa, Rosemead, and Halstead except for the building on the northern tip and the building along Electronic Drive.
        • Six new office buildings, each three to four stories tall (plus mechanics screen) would be built.
        • This would increase the available floor area by about four times, but the impact would be greater because most of the current floor area (former Allstate building) has been unused for 15+ years.
        • Almost all parking would be in underground garage(s).   Because the site is within one half mile of the gold line, it might have much less parking then would otherwise be required.
        • The East Pasadena Specific Plan has a very large amount of office space development permitted once the Walnut/Kinneloa cut throughs are completed.  This proposal depends on that happening and undoubtedly the city staff foresaw it as a major contributor of fees to the cost of that work.
        • The many city ordinance protected trees that are proposed to be removed is one hurdle the proposal must get over.
        • The Allstate building was potentially eligible for historic status, but at some point in recent years someone in the city staff made a determination that it had already been modified too much to qualify.
        • The developer was going to request that the two parcels be merged into one and also some special consideration on the height limits.  Under the East Pasadena Specific Plan the height limits for the south east portion of the area are higher (at 56') then those for the rest of the area (40').  These descretionary actions could give the City Council some leverage to get concessions from the developer.

Prior to the above, the following was all that was known:

 

    • On October 8, 2005, the Pasadena Star News had an article reporting that the 7.88 acres including this building and the two newer buildings totalling 151,000 square feet has been sold to Cogent Inc. of South Pasadena for $25 million.
    • Cogent has 150 to 200 employees and expects to grow.  Building is being upgraded prior to their moving in.
    • Some months prior there were reports that the building was sold or about to be sold and that the city is considering using money from the fees the developer will pay to install a signal on Sierra Madre Villa between Orange Grove and Foothill (most likely at Electronic Drive).
  • Houses where radio station was off Sierra Madre Villa just south of Sierra Madre Blvd.
    • A new road off of Sierra Madre Villa divides into two roads. There will be 28 two story houses of around 3300 sq ft on parcels of 7200 to 9300 sq ft.   Because everything is supposedly being done to conform with pre-existing zoning and ordinances, no special city permissions were needed.
    • Radio towers and the station building were gone as of early November 2006.  Grading was underway in July 2007.  As of the end of 2007, two huge houses were mostly built at the southern end of the property.  It stayed that way for a while, but as of December 2008 many of the remaining parcels are well along in being built upon.
    • There was controversy over a very tall wall that appeared along Sierra Madre Villa shortly after grading began.  Normally walls around residences cannot exceed 6', so what's with this enormous (14') wall?  It turns out the developer planned to make the overall site more level by building up the southern end behind this wall.  Code compliance staff seem to believe the developer's plan is within code. Something about having only one sewer connection and them being above it.   Reportedly the city got them to reduce the wall to 10' by allowing a second sewer connection.   So these new massive houses will be less conspicuous near Sierra Madre Blvd where their base is below grade, but will loom over the surroundings on the southern end.  With the way the wall has been altered and the landscaping put in, it doesn't look so bad anymore as of December 2008.
  • Land under the wires north of Orange Grove
  • Space Bank on Foothill
    • Property was reportedly in escrow in late 2007 or early 2008.  That reportedly fell through.  As of December 2008 whether it will be sold and developed is unknown.
    • Land is zoned for industrial/office use.  It was being purchased by a developer looking to develop office space.
  • Former Stuart buildings - Foothill and Sierra Madre Villa
    • Building of an 188 unit apartment complex is complete in the area behind the historic screen and around the reflecting pool.
    • During construction of the 188 apartment units, the SMV/Foothill corner lot was used as a convenient staging area.  The developer, SMV Technology Partners, has an approved plan for the site involving 212 housing units with a 339 space garage underneath, and a live performance theater and offices in the historic Stuart building.  The proposed theater tenant is a company named "A Noise Within" which is currently located in Glendale.
    • This project had a pre-plan review before the City Council in December 2006.  Here are the city Staff Report and the developer's Plan Drawings.   A pre-plan review is only informational - the council did not make any decisions.  A previous pre-plan review was this October 10, 2005 staff report to city council.
    • On April 30, 2007, the City Council held a public hearing to approve a slew of items related to the new 212 unit project.  Because the East Pasadena Specific Plan did not allow any more residential development prior to Walnut Street being cut through from Sunnyslope to Kinneloa Ave., and Kinneloa Avenue being cut through from Walnut under the freeway to Titley Ave., the developer agreed to pay 1 million dollars toward the city's capital improvement project to to that.  In return, the city agrees to front the additional money needed to get that done, and let the SMV project go forward.  This is part of the Development Agreement between the city and SMV Technology Partners approved by the council at this hearing.  Also approved was the Environmental Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration, which covers both the SMV project and the city's capital improvement road project.
    • General project summary:
      • 4 & 5 story buildings 60 feet high and 237,706 square feet with 212 residential units
      • 339 parking spaces on two partially underground levels - all for resident's use
      • Stuart Pharmacuetical building to be retrofitted into a 350 seat live theater and supporting space totaling 45,000 square feet
      • theater visitor parking of 63 spaces is to be in Gold Line parking garage
      • theator/offices to have 33 on-site spaces for staff
      • 35 bicycle parking spaces will be provided onsite
      • theater expected to do 4 to 5 live shows and four evening acting classes per week
      • construction of residential units from May 2008 to July 2010
      • construction of theator from October 2009 to July 2010
      • access to the parking structure is to be from northbound on Sierra Madre Villa to a road between the buildings and the Gold Line station
      • traffic is not expected to be a problem because the projected trips are below the allowed projections for the area specified in the East Pasadena Specific Plan.  They also get credit for the traffic usage that used to be there when Stuart was using it.
      • "The proposed project was reviewed by the Pasadena Department of Transportation (PasDOT) and it was determined that the proposed Residential/Theater project was analyzed in the Traffic study prepared for the EPSP EIR. PasDOT required that a Traffic Assessment be prepared to compare the proposed project to the analysis of the traffic study in the EPSP EIR. The Traffic Assessment was prepared by Linscott, Law, and Greenspan on January 11, 2007. A copy of the Traffic Assessment is available for review as part of the project file at the City of Pasadena, Hale Building..."
      • Conditions of approval from Public Works also include the developer paying to:
        • add a second left turn lane from north bound Sierra Madre Villa to west bound Foothill Blvd.
        • add a dedicated right turn lane from east bound Foothill Blvd to south bound Sierra Madre Villa
    • As of December 2008 the project has had multiple Design Commission hearings.  There were a few sticking points and it is unknown whether it has now gotten final design approval.
  • Street Modifications / Improvements
  • Kinneloa & Walnut Extension project
    • This project was most recently projected to get started in Spring of 2009 and finish by December 2009.  (Don't hold your breath!)
    • A city capital improvement project called for by the East Pasadena Specific Plan
    • Extension of Kinneloa north under the freeway to Titley Ave.
    • Extension of Walnut between Sunnyslope and Kinneloa
    • Widening of Walnut between Altadena Drive and San Gabriel Blvd.
    • Installation of signals at Altadena Drive and Walnut and at Daisy and Walnut
    • Extension of Virginia Ave south across the former railroad hump to the north side of Walnut
    • Construction expected to be from April to December 2008
    • 1200 linear feet of construction on Kinneloa in 60 foot right of way
    • 1400 linear feet of construction on Walnut within 80 foot right of way
    • 1200 linear feet of road widening on Walnut
    • 60 linear feet of construction on Virginia Ave within 60 foot right of way
    • Will be removing 18 "speciman" street trees.  Will be planting 150 new street trees (every 30 feet).
    • Team Chevrolet will be losing some area < 1/2 acre currently used for parking.  Apparently it is already city property they have been leasing.
    • Street parking will be allowed on both sides of Kinneloa and Walnut.
  • Addition of a second left turn lane from north bound Sierra Madre Villa to west bound Foothill Blvd.
  • Addition of a dedicated right turn lane from east bound Foothill Blvd to south bound Sierra Madre Villa
  • East Pasadena Post Office
  • East Pasadena Post Office is moving from its longtime 2609 Colorado location to 3016 East Colorado Blvd.  That is the southwest corner of Colorado and Kinneloa (where overflow Fedco parking was).
  • Move is expected to take place by the end of January 2009.
  • New 2600 sq ft location will have 4 retail counters, 1294 P.O. Boxes, and an Automated Postal Center in the lobby.
  • East Pasadena Urgent Care Center
  • On December 8, 2008 the City Council approved negotiating and executing an architectural contract for plans, bidding, and construction management to remodel the existing building at 3060 E. Del Mar for use as an Urgent Care Center. It is east of Eaton Blanch Park, west of the Edison right of way, south of the intersection with Kinneloa.  This is a parcel the city owns.
    City staff report is here
    http://ww2.cityofpasadena.net/councilagendas/2008%20agendas/Dec_08_08/7A1.pdf
  • The project will renovate the existing 10,092 sq ft building to accommodate an Urgent Care Center to be operated by the Huntington Medical Foundation and CHAP (Community Health Alliance of Pasadena).  This is expected to cost $3.75 million.
  • A potential second phase of the project is building new buildings for a  public safety training facility and a fire training center.  In August 2008 that was projected to cost another $7.35 million.
  • Approval of going forward with the Urgent Care Center had been postponed by the City Council since September because neighborhood resident representatives had complained about it.  A major problem was that the city did not inform the neighborhood of their planning until they had basically made the decision already.
  • In September 2008 the City Council received these reports explaining the plan and reasons for choosing the site:
  • Mt Wilson toll road repair
  • The toll road starts at Eaton Canyon and goes to Henninger Flats and on to Mt. Wilson
  • In the early part of last century it was used by regular people in passenger cars which paid a toll
  • Since 1940, vehicle use has been primarily by the county consolidated fire protection district.  But hiking and bike use was heavy until it was blocked.
  • Damaged in 9 locations by heavy rain in winter 2004-2005.
  • Four of the slide locations are within Pasadena
  • City has two grants for repairs from FEMA totaling just under $1.5 million
  • City is turning grant money over to fire protection district to make the repairs
  • In August 2008 city staff said it was hoped that repair work would begin October 1, 2008, but they noted that FEMA has to approve the repair work plan first.  As of December 2008 there is no evidence of any activity.
  • Gateway Tower property
  • This is the 11 story building next to the fire station, south side of Foothill, just east of Halstead.
  • A pre-plan review was presented to the Council on November 19, 2007.
  • Owner of property is proposing to build two additional buildings to the south of the tower.  They would be four and five stories.
  • This land is currently used for surface parking.  Both new buildings would be built above at-grade parking.  The southern building would also have subterranean parking.  Because the property is so near the Gold Line station, new development is required to have fewer parking spaces per square footage of office space then is the case elsewhere and was the case when the tower was built.
  • A covered pedestrian walkway is proposed from the buildings along the driveway to Halstead.
  • The proposal could change substantially prior to approval because at this stage no environmental study or or other city staff review has yet taken place.
  • This project could be beneficial to us if it reduces the remaining office space available for development under the East Pasadena Specific Plan that developers of the Allstate property might have hoped to use.
  • New soccer field on Sierra Madre Blvd
  • On the north side of Sierra Madre Blvd, just east of Washington Blvd, on County flood control land.
  • The development is privately financed and operated by a former teacher.
  • Not just soccer field(s) but an "academy", aimed at middle school age children.
  • As of late summer 2008 there was grading activity underway on the site.
  • St Lukes property
  • Sale of the former St. Lukes hospital property on Washington Blvd. was completed by Caltech to a company named DS Ventures in 2007.
  • The developer discussed various preliminary concept plans with various interested parties, sometimes with little notice.  Seemed to be trying to avoid very many interested parties hearing the same thing at the same time.
  • The developer has been cited as having a very poor record of listening to the community near projects it has done elsewhere.
  • According to our Councilman, the preliminary concept presented in 2007 was "heavy on residential", including multi-family multi-story buildings immediately adjacent to existing single family homes. Councilman stated that is a no-go with him.
  • Developer has indicated they are amenable to making space available to an operator of urgent care.
  • The developer indicated amenable to potentially use of some of the land for a park, which is something the Councilman had expressed interest in.  Subsequentally the adjacent neighborhood told them they did not want a park there so that idea was dropped.  They do not want a park there because Victory Park is already nearby and because they already have enough trouble with high school kids loitering and littering.
  • The developer is required to deal with historic preservation of some of the existing buildings.
  • In the fall of 2008 the developer submitted a development application to the city.  It was reportedly going to be presented to the City Council for pre-plan review on December 8, 2008, but it was withdrawn from that review just prior to the meeting agenda being fixed.  According to adjacent neighborhood leadership, the proposed plan included development of 435,000 square feet of multi-family housing, more then double what currently exists.  Unclear whether they would be independent or assisted living units.  Also a high rise parking structure and another medical office building.  The convent and chapel would be turned into office space.  The parcel would be subdivided into 8 parcels to be sold off individually.
  • Former "Pleasures" club site
  • This was the adult club on Foothill in the strip mall to the west of the Panda Inn.
  • After losing a lawsuit to the city and having its liquor license revoked, it was forced to shut down in January 2008.
  • The property is for sale.  It could be used for retail or redeveloped for office space.
  • Former Shakey's Pizza -> adult club -> city buyout site
  • The former Shakey's Pizza location on Foothill Blvd near the merger with Walnut was purchased by the city to settle a lawsuit and get rid of the adult entertainment club Peppermint Garden. It has been vacant since the city bought it.
  • As of November 2008 the site is reportedly under consideration for joint use as a state parole board office and police substation.  The state parole office currently much further west on Walnut would move there.
  • City leaders do not think having the parole office there would pose a problem because parolees supposedly don't want to hang out or do bad things where they are more likely to be caught.  Supposedly the office has not been a problem at its current location.
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