Galleria -- making it easy to take a leisurely stroll to reach these
destinations. However, the virtual no man's land between Central
Avenue and Brand Boulevard was the worst part of the deal. An
abandoned gas station, the Sears Auto Center, the Orange Street
garage and a bunch of parking lots provided the "great divide"
between a residential area and downtown, ruining an otherwise
pleasant evening walk. Introducing this residential component with
some new street-level retail space will go a long way toward bridging
this gap and bringing some vibrancy and life to our downtown.
Councilman Rafi Manoukian's lone dissenting vote was not a great
surprise. He voted against the planned high-rise condominium proposed
for the corner of Brand and Wilson Avenue, as well. I agreed with him
that time, as I don't think we should necessarily put residential
units on this section of Brand any more than you would put a condo on
Colorado Boulevard right in the middle of Old Town Pasadena. Brand
should be retained as a "fun and work" zone, with mixed-use
residential units positioned in the two blocks immediately to the
east and west of Brand to create a logical buffer zone between Brand
and the more traditional residential areas. Manoukian's aversion to
high-rise residential construction, however, is not well-founded.
While we don't want to build a forest of high-rises, views are a
vital component of urban living, something that is not going to be a
part of a dwelling that is only two or three stories high.
I'm also glad that the issue of saving the 81-year-old apartment
building on Central was also not discussed. North Central Avenue is a
hodgepodge of architectural mediocrity, and that building is no
exception, just because it is old. Here's to some progress in
J. SCOTT LABISSONIERE