Surrounded by an abundance of unique flooring and window coverings, a relaxed John Vandercook looked at ease, talking about the town that soon will be expanding around him.
Seated behind a large table inside his South Pasadena business – Reimagine Your Home – which continues to stave off competition from the likes of Amazon with top quality merchandise and personal service to match – Vandercook has taken notice to what is currently being constructed or what is coming to the city’s landscape in the coming days, months and years ahead.
A lot, notes Vandercook, a board of director with the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, is coming down the pike.
The local chamber officially partners with the City of South Pasadena as the economic development arm, and Vandercook likes the direction the business district is headed, envisioning a busier downtown area, especially during the evening hours, with an anticipated increase in foot traffic once more people live downtown. “The CEO, Laurie Wheeler, is so involved with our city manager, Stephanie DeWolfe, and her department heads in terms of economic development, and they are working to move everything in the same direction,” explained Vandercook, noting that DeWolfe is “very pro economic development.”
Vandercook, who serves as the chamber’s secretary, says DeWolfe brings a vast amount of expertise from her work in other cities and believes South Pasadenans will capitalize on that experience, saying the city and chamber are in a good place, working well together as a team.
“She’s a really good fit for us right now,” said Vandercook of DeWolfe. “The Chamber of Commerce weighs in a lot on new projects that are happening in town. And there are a lot.”
At a glance, the following are some projects either envisioned, currently under construction or still in the planning stages.
Mission Bell Project
Thirty-three residential units, including underground parking and storefronts, are being targeted for Mission Street at Fairview Avenue. A center courtyard with a small pocket park and restaurant are part of the blueprint. Vandercook says the developer is awaiting environmental impact papers to be released. “As soon as that happens, they’ll probably start putting together a timetable,” he said.
Construction means that the La Fiesta Grande restaurant and Divergent Crossfit will be eliminated from the property.
JONES COFFEE ROASTERS | New South Pasadena Location
The property in which Carrows restaurant at Fremont Avenue and Mission Street has been purchased and, according to Vandercook, it will be developed into residential units with a retail component. “It will be a nice addition to our city,” he said.
Citizens Business Bank
The Kutzer Company, owned by South Pasadena resident and former Board of Education member Pete Kutzer, has purchased the Citizen Business Bank property at the corner of Mission Street and Fair Oaks Avenue in the city. “He’s not going to change the physical footprint, parking or the structure, but he’s going to do a re-adaptive-use on the interior and sub-divide it into four independent retail units, some food oriented,” explained Vandercook of Kutzer’s vision. “That will plus up the corner. He’ll do some work on the outside of the building, making it real attractive.”
Mamma’s Brick Oven Pizza
Mamma’s Brick Oven Pizza will be moving from its current location at 710 Fair Oaks, south to 1005-1007 Fair Oaks, once occupied by Koi Loungewear.
The pizza parlor’s new location will be next to the East/West Bank, near El Centro and Fair Oaks Avenue. “They’re creating a wonderful, full service restaurant which will give them much more room than their current location.”
The eatery is nearing completion.
A second Mamma’s Brick Over Pizza in Rosemead has closed.
625 Fair Oaks Avenue
The massive brick building at 625 Fair Oaks Avenue was recently purchased, and Vandercook says plans call for developing the back parking lot with senior housing units and underground parking. The Fair Oaks side of the building on the south portion may include a restaurant, noted the chamber board member.
Reconstruction of the Pavilions store at Monterey Road and Fair Oaks Avenue is back in the fold. Vandercook said the existing building will likely be torn down, making room for “a showcase Pavilions store, moving the entire structure forward to include retail components at the sidewalk,”
Parking will be located behind the store, which will be constructed in “a split level with some underground public parking. It’s going to be very attractive,” said Vandercook, who hasn’t seen a timetable on that project, “but it’s going to be great for our city.”
That good old classic American burger joint you’ve grown accustom to over the years is getting a bit of a makeover.
Yes, Hi-Life Burgers, 1326 Fair Oaks Avenue, the longstanding mom-and-pop stop many count on to pick up their old-fashioned favorites, will be remodeling soon by adding a second story.
Vandercook said he hasn’t seen the plans for the project.
In other changes, he’s glad to report that Chuck Jones will be bringing Jones Coffee Roasters to South Pasadena, replacing Moo on Mission, which recently closed at Mission Street and Meridian Avenue, near the Gold Line Station, several months ago.
“They have a great reputation,” said Vandercook, explaining it will be Jones Coffee Roasters’ third retail outlet, along with current locations at Vroman’s Books and on Raymond Avenue, both in Pasadena. “Their coffee is sold commercially to restaurants, so you know it’s good.”
And ice cream lovers will like to know that Fosselman’s is returning to the location under new ownership. “A lot of people will be happy to know it’s coming back,” said Vandercook, who likes to say economic development in the city is strong.
And it appears to only be getting stronger with those who will occupy the influx of residential units scheduled to open in the future.
“Five years from now we’re really going to be able to promote even greater economic success because a lot more people are going to be on the sidewalks during the evening hours,” explained Vandercook. “As they live in these residential units, they are going to frequent the stores and restaurants.”
And help make the city’s nightlife in the downtown business district come alive.
“It will be a great boon for South Pasadena,” said a confident Vandercook.