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5,486 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Board votes to support The Shops at Santa Anita, including $22 million in office space donated to the school district

Arcadia – The Arcadia Unified School District adopted a resolution in support of Caruso Affiliated’s proposed center, The Shops at Santa Anita. The new upscale, outdoor center would be constructed on the parking lot south of the grandstand at Santa Anita Park and would include approximately 22,000 square feet of office space for the Arcadia Unified School District.

“The Shops at Santa Anita will be good for our students and our community,” said Arcadia School Board President James C. Romo. “Mr. Caruso’s generosity will allow us to relocate our district office and free up space that is needed by the high school. This is a win-win situation for all.”

To help improve Arcadia’s outstanding public schools, Caruso Affiliated has proposed including as part of The Shops at Santa Anita office space that will be leased to the school district rent free for 40 years. This lease is valued at more than $22 million as retail space.

The new office space will help alleviate the shortage of land at Arcadia High School because it will allow school district administrative employees to move out of their current office building that is adjacent to the high school campus. If the school district moves to a new building, the current office space will be used to build new facilities to enhance the quality of education for Arcadia High students. Constructed in 1952, today Arcadia High School has more than 3,800 students.

“Caruso Affiliated is proud to support Arcadia schools as part of our project The Shops at Santa Anita. We are looking forward to becoming part of the Arcadia community and are committed to ensuring its future success by helping to maintain the high quality of Arcadia’s public schools,” said Rick Caruso, Founder and CEO of Caruso Affiliated, who with his wife Tina has long supported local schools throughout Southern California.

The Shops at Santa Anita is supported by Arcadia organizations including the Arcadia Firefighters Association, the Acadia Police Officers Association, the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce and the Rancho Santa Anita Residents Association.

The Shops at Santa Anita will provide new upscale shops, unique outdoor restaurants, lushly landscaped park-like settings and promenades where Arcadians can come to walk around, relax, and enjoy each other’s company. At the request of Arcadia residents, the project will include a community performing arts center where school and community organizations can hold performances. The center would be built and maintained at no cost to taxpayers. Also at the request of Arcadians, The Shops at Santa Anita no longer includes housing of any kind.

5,486 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Civic Auditorium ready to reclaim its rightful position
By Janette Williams Staff Writer
Article Launched: 02/12/2007 12:00:00 AM PST

PASADENA - At 75 years old, the Pasadena Civic Auditorium is getting ready for its close-up as the focus of the new $121.6 million Convention Center expansion.

Newly visible after being blocked from view and easy access since the 1970s by the late, unlamented Plaza Pasadena, the historic auditorium has already reclaimed its original place in the Civic Center.

Now demolition has started for construction of a new convention center, almost double in size.

In place of the low-key, mostly underground space surrounding it since the early 1970s, the Civic will be framed on either side by curving two-story building facades and a sprawling plaza in front.

Mayor Bill Bogaard called it the lead structure in the expansion, welcoming visitors to the Pasadena experience.

"It's the primary icon; everything else is designed to supplement, not outdistance it," Bogaard said.

Jim Stivers, president of the Pasadena Center Operating Company from 1973 to 1991, said the 1932 auditorium was the obvious centerpiece for the city's original venture into the conference/convention business, and it's still a key element.

"The city of Pasadena had already determined they were going to expand the auditorium into the convention center, and that's when we put it together, wrote the ordinance and bylaws and everything else to establish the first operating company," said Stivers, who now sits on the Rose Bowl Operating Company board.

The PCOC, which includes the auditorium, Pasadena Convention Center and the Convention & Visitors Bureau, was the first such city-owned set-up in California, he said.

The whole complex, Stivers said, is "well located, pays its own bills, and the capital investment going on now should continue to justify the operation." The Civic and the Convention Center, he said, "are each dependent on the other."

Richard Barr, 15-year general manager of the auditorium, said being part of the PCOC's "umbrella organization" has helped secure its next 75 years.

"If we were a stand-alone facility we'd have our own overhead," Barr said. "Right now, one staff covers all the buildings, and there's great economy there."

He estimates the Civic contributes "easily $1 million" in annual earned revenue, and said it creates a "huge economic impact on the community."

Since the Paseo Colorado open-air shopping center and apartments replaced Plaza Pasadena and opened central access from Green Street to Colorado Boulevard, auditorium and convention center visitors shop and dine there, he said.

"The big strength of our expansion is going to be an incredible opening-up of the city to the convention and meeting business, and the Civic is a big part of that," Barr said. "The synergy is incredible ... \ when we get the ice rink back to the historical ballroom and we'll have tons of space to accommodate larger groups."

The 17,000-square-foot ice rink behind the auditorium - which always kept the original chandeliers - will move to East Pasadena.

A second 25,000-square-foot ballroom and 85,000 square feet of exhibit space also are planned, along with renovation of the present underground conference space and administrative offices.

The Civic Auditorium exterior has stood up well over the years, Barr has said. But, courtesy of a 1970s makeover, the interior was updated with bright red carpeting and 3,000 red velvet seats with white backs.

A $1.4 million restoration in 1997 redid the auditorium in original earth tones, including teal carpeting and upholstery, that brought new life to the spectacular wall and ceiling murals. Now, as Bogaard said, "It's elegantly appointed."

And it looks spectacular on television, Barr says, which has been a big selling point.

"We're always under consideration when a promoter needs a venue of 3,000 seats," Barr said. "The Emmys, the People's Choice Awards, when they have to move to bigger facilities, they always leave here with great regret."

Shaken, never Stirred
8,014 Posts
Speaking of the SGV wasn't there a proposed project for El Monti Bus Station?

2,297 Posts
Atlantic Times Square

The Atlantic Times Square offers over 200,000 square feet of retail entertainment space adjacent to the I-10 San Bernardino Freeway featuring a 14-screen AMC Theater Cineplex, Chili's, Cold Stones Creamery, Quizno's and many more top notch tenants. Integrated into the mixed-use development are 210 high quality condominiums. The Atlantic Times Square promises to be a gem for the San Gabriel Valley.


site plan

first floor

second floor


current state


some equipment

2,297 Posts
288 South San Gabriel nears completion

mixed use development on 288 South San Gabriel is nearing completion. All the commercial area is already rented out. Top two levels of condo space are almost complete and half already have down payments.

opens officially at the end of february

5,486 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Project will let Pasadena venue shine
The city's convention center expansion includes a restored ballroom and designs that showcase the 1932 Civic Auditorium.
By Nancy Wride, Times Staff Writer
February 21, 2007

The $121-million expansion of the Pasadena Convention Center will include new buildings but will also showcase one of the city's treasured landmarks: the 1932 Civic Auditorium.

The ornate Italian Renaissance building, which opened 75 years ago this month, is the centerpiece of the current expansion project. It is expected to be completed in the spring of 2009.

The expansion will add 55,000 square feet of exhibit space and include new entrances on each side of the auditorium that will better frame the building.

"These new … flanking buildings will lead the eye and draw your attention toward the Civic Auditorium," said Sue Mossman, executive director of Pasadena Heritage, which promotes historic preservation. "The current buildings are these bunker-like, very low-scale odd buildings. So getting rid of those is definitely a plus."

Some see another bonus in the plan.

The project calls for relocating the city's ice rink from the rear of the auditorium so the original ballroom that graced "the Civic" until 1976 can be restored, said Michael W. Ross, chief executive officer of the city organization that operates the site. During the big band era, dancers glided across the ballroom's wood floors.

"Saving it was a high priority for us and a low priority" for others at the start, Mossman said of the old ballroom, "but it has ended up being a high priority for everybody now, so that's cause for celebration."

Over the years, the Civic has served as the city's cultural anchor.

The 3,000-seat theater, whose walls and ceiling are adorned with hand-painted murals of mythological Greek figures, has played host to concerts, Broadway musicals and numerous Hollywood awards shows. Live radio broadcasts of ballroom dances in the 1940s made Pasadena a household name across the country.

On Tuesday, TV host Don Cornelius met with Richard Barr, general manager of the auditorium, about the March 10 taping of the "Soul Train" awards show.

From the beginning, the building has been a source of great pride.

On its grand opening on Feb. 15, 1932, The Times noted the devastating economic period in which the Civic was dedicated.

"This city scored a hit on old man depression's jaw tonight when more than 3,000 residents celebrated the formal opening of Pasadena's new $1.3 million Civic Auditorium," the newspaper story stated.

The article goes on to say that "the completion of the auditorium culminates a twenty-year fight on the part of local organizations to obtain an adequate convention headquarters."

The city's need for more convention space is what drove the current expansion project, Ross said.

As Pasadena competes with cities such as San Jose, Sacramento and Long Beach for more lucrative conventions, he said, it must have larger and more modern exhibition and meeting spaces. A Sheraton hotel is on the site.

In addition to two new exhibit halls, the expansion project will include a new 25,000-square-foot ballroom and the restored 17,000-square-foot ballroom. A new parking garage also is planned.

The city hopes the project will generate an additional $24 million annually for local merchants.

"It will allow Pasadena to grow stronger as a destination both for work and for tourism," Mayor Bill Bogaard said.

Preservationists are pleased with how things turned out. Early expansion plans were far too modern, Mossman said, and Pasadena Heritage strongly objected.

The current project will better spotlight the Civic, she said.

"There is very little Italian Renaissance architecture in Pasadena from that time, which is one of the reasons [the auditorium] is so exceptional," Mossman noted. "So keeping that a showcase is what makes sense for the whole project, makes it worthwhile."

5,486 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Pumpkin patch sold
Monterey Park site cleared for housing/retail complex
By Jennifer McLain Staff Writer

MONTEREY PARK - A former pumpkin patch and Christmas tree lot that is central to a major development plan has closed escrow, bringing the city within a year of breaking ground on three mixed-use projects.

Charles Co., a Los Angeles-based developer, bought the 2.5-acre parcel at the southwest corner of Garvey Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard in late January, Monterey Park officials said Wednesday.

The site is slated to be developed into 102 apartments along with 18,000 square feet of retail space. The project is known as the Garvey Villas.

Monterey Park Mayor David Lau said he was gratified to hear escrow had closed on the property.

"It has been an eyesore for many, many years," Lau said. "It is highly under-utilized, and it is in a prime location in the city."

The purchase of the pumpkin patch property, which was privately owned, is significant, said Margarita Cruz, director of economic development.

"Now this is very much a real project," Cruz said. "Selling this property is what has been holding up the project for several years."

City officials would not release the sale price. Representatives for Charles Co. did not return calls for comment.

Chris Jeffers said the developer is awaiting escrow on only one other parcel before proceeding with the project. He estimates that ground-breaking could be within a year.

The project is a key component in the city's pedestrian linkage plan, which is intended to revitalize the downtown and encourage residents to get out of their cars and shop locally. The plan was formed in 2004, and the construction and building plans are just starting to come to fruition, officials said.

"These projects will bring prosperity to the city," Lau said. "There will be more quality housing, more quality retailers, and we are removing blight from the city."


Bleed Dodger Blue
1,773 Posts
How does the Metro "Rail" map look if it includes Rapid Lines (it includes busways, so why not these)?

Bleed Dodger Blue
1,773 Posts
^^Do you mean the one map that shows even the local lines?

5,486 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Commission Gives Westfield Go Ahead

By Traci Kratzer

Glazer said because the EIR previously completed by Westfield is seven years old they should be required to complete a new EIR.

“We all know what this is about,” Glazer said. “Westfield doesn’t want to spend the money or the time to provide details on how much they want to build.”

Stephanie Eyestone-Jones, a principle with PCR Corporation, said she completed the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review for the addendum of the expansion and assured the commissioners that the report was “reviewed twice under CEQA guidelines.”

One of the biggest concerns for residents with both the Westfield expansion and the Caruso/Santa Anita racetrack project is traffic. Pat Gibson, a traffic and parking analyst, said that the traffic mitigation measures related to the proposed expansion have been studied and no significant impacts were found.

The city staff report did include a list of mitigation measures that remain outstanding and stated that each of the measures are under the jurisdiction of either Caltrans or Los Angeles County.

Resident Mary Doughtery said she had hoped to be supportive of the project but urged the commission to reject the addendum until “Westfield makes a cooperative and collaborative effort to control traffic impacts.”

“Westfield has good traffic, everyone else has bad traffic,” Doughtery said. “I can’t subscribe to that.”

Discussion on the expansion will go before the city council for a public hearing on April 3.

The architectural design review for the 100,800 square foot second expansion of the Westfield Santa Anita Mall received unanimous approval from the Planning Commission Tuesday night.

The commissioners also accepted the addendum to Westfield’s certified Environmental Impact Report (EIR) from 2000.

“We are consistently improving and investing in the community,” said Ken Wong, President of U.S. Operations for Westfield. “Our plan for the future is to approach that in a phased and logical manner.”

Wong said the expansion, which has been named “The Promenade,” will consist of five blocks of retail buildings in the southwest quadrant of the property south of Nordstrom and west of Macy’s. Wong said “The Promenade” will generate $540,000 annually to the city.

In a ten page letter to the members of the planning commission, Patricia Glazer, lawyer for both The Turf Club and Santa Anita Companies Inc., said that the addendum to the project is “flawed” and “inconsistent” with the City’s General Plan for several reasons. Included in those reasons was what she called the “shifting and understated size of the project.” She said the project appears to have grown in scope by approximately 200,000 to 400,000 sq. ft. She added that the certified 2000 EIR looked at a project with a floor area ratio (FAR) of .44, and the expansion as it is today looks to be over the allowed .50 FAR.

However, according to city staff reports, Westfield’s original request for an additional 600,000 sq. ft. of Gross Leasable Area (GLA) as analyzed in the 2000 EIR, shows that the expansion is below the allowable FAR of .50.

5,486 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Mall wars take aim at Arcadia City Hall
By Kenneth Todd Ruiz Staff Writer

ARCADIA - The latest salvo in this city's mall wars is aimed directly at City Hall.

Opponents of the proposed Caruso Affiliated development near the Santa Anita Park race track have filed a complaint accusing the City Council of breaking open-meeting laws.

An attorney for Arcadia First! asked the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office to investigate whether negotiations between the city and Caruso violated the Brown Act because they were held outside of public view.

Arcadia First! receives funding from Westfield, which aggressively opposes construction of the 800,000-square-foot shopping complex adjacent to the mall it owns.

City Attorney Stephen Deitsch said Wednesday the discussions were "lawful and appropriate."

The Brown Act provides limited reasons for public bodies to meet in private, so the public is privy to their decision-making process.

The specific matters discussed - which Deitsch said he could not elaborate upon - likely related to a long-negotiated development agreement between Caruso and the city.

Hypothetically, Deitsch said, if such deliberations included the purchase, lease or exchange of real estate, "then it would be lawful and appropriate to
AOT 2007
discuss the price and terms of payment in closed session."

Sung Tse, spokeswoman for Arcadia First!, challenged the council at a recent meeting to conduct its business in the open.

According to published agendas, City Council members met privately with city staff, track owner Magna Entertainment Corp. and Caruso Affiliated to discuss "price and terms of payment" for the "southerly parking area" of the track.

"I understand they are allowed closed sessions," she said of the council, but questioned why the Caruso firm was allowed to participate when it doesn't own that land. "What does he have to do with these closed sessions?"

Councilman Bob Harbicht said Wednesday he could not go into the specifics of negotiations, but added that the reason for holding a closed session would be clear once a draft of the development agreement is made public.

"It's one of those things that's hard to defend yourself because the only way to defend yourself is to disclose what was said in closed session," he said. "And then it's no longer a closed session."

A draft of the agreement could be made public as early as next week, according to Assistant City Manager Don Penman.

Two weeks later, on March 19, Caruso's proposal goes before the Planning Commission. If the City Council subsequently approves the plan, Westfield is expected to initiate a ballot initiative to let voters second-guess the council's decision.

Meanwhile, the next phase of Westfield's expansion plans were approved by the Planning Commission on Tuesday night, despite urging by Caruso that a new environmental impact report be prepared.

City staff concluded that the Promenade expansion, which would add 100,000 square feet of open-air commercial space and a two-level parking structure, was covered by a previous impact study.

But a Tuesday report to the Planning Commission refuted the mall owner's published claims last fall that its ballot measure to limit signs would "apply to all of Arcadia's businesses - including Westfield Santa Anita."

"Despite what this campaign literature stated, the measure clearly applied only to the Racetrack property and not other properties," the report said.

Voters narrowly passed Measure N in November.
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