MAIN ST The Legacy of the Pasadena Athletic Club The original Athletic Club was built in 1926 during an era of constructing great civic buildings. In 1979, the Athletic Club was demolished and replaced with the blank walls of the Plaza Pasadena mall. In 2015 this last corner of the mall was torn down for a new hotel that will have a plaque commemorating the Athletic Club.
complicated web site. And to see the proposal, which was not posted on the web site, it was necessary to request to view the drawings in person at the Planning Department. To comment on the new hotel at the Design Commission in March of 2015, the public would have likely been forced to stand in the hall (photo, lower left), as the meeting space did not have the room to accommodate the developer’s team, the architect’s team, as well as the public. With such impediments to public participation, few people were aware they had an opportunity to be involved in the planning of their city. A survey of parking receipts in Old Pasadena indicates that 70% of parking revenue comes from outside the city. As more projects are built for visitors and without authentic local input, citizens find it increasingly difficult to feel at home in their own community. Without the gravitational pull of a bottom-up planning process that reflects public needs and values, the
privatization of the public sphere and planning process translates into fewer involved citizens. With the mall failing again, it is clear the problems of the original Plaza Pasadena mall were not fixed by the redesign of 2000. Although the Paseo reopened the Civic Center axis, the mall’s longer axis parallel to Colorado Boulevard remains closed, leaving a gap with Old Pasadena. The Passages Project (p.116) explores solutions and serves as case study of how a “My City” process can more efficiently explore solutions. Whether “My City” is revitalized or not, the question of greater public participation will determine the fate of the third incarnation of the mall by people either returning or continuing to stay away. The “My City” process can help the mall’s new owners to find out what citizens want and how to attract them to their important investment. By gathering ideas from more people, “My City” is a proven and advantageous approach for both citizens and developers of Pasadena today.
Tearing it Down In 1979, the Athletic Club was knocked down for the Plaza Pasadena mall, which was torn down in 2000 for the Paseo mall that is failing as well. In 2016, the east end was demolished and the mall was sold before new construction began.
"My City" tells the story of Pasadena’s City Beautiful Movement and the century that followed, exploring how this proven approach can be rev...