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Updated: 21 hours 58 min ago

Pasadena Office Building Portfolio Sells for $193 Million

Wed, 2019-11-13 06:21

A San Francisco-based real estate investor has acquired The Pasadena Collection, three multi-story office properties with a total of 516,890 square feet in Pasadena.

The property consists of a 146,313 square-foot building at 790 E. Colorado Blvd., a 211,792 square-foot building at 155 North Lake Avenue, and a 158,785 square-foot building at 35 North Lake.

The portfolio is 68 percent occupied, according to a statement issued by Chicago-based commercial real estate services firm JLL Monday.

The statement said Swift Real Estate Partners in San Francisco acquired the Pasadena portfolio for $193 million.

JLL represented the seller, an unnamed global investment manager, and procured the buyer, according to the report. JLL also secured the three-year, floating-rate $160-million acquisition loan through Nuveen Real Estate.

The JLL statement said The Pasadena Collection is clustered “in one of the most amenity-rich and walkable locations in the Tri-Cities market.”

“Situated along the convergence of Pasadena’s two retail corridors, Lake Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, the portfolio features a Walk Score of 90 with numerous eateries, bars, boutiques, retail stores and entertainment/fitness offerings within minutes of the properties,” JLL said.

The Pasadena Collection is considered by the investors to be sufficiently close to Caltech, JPL and the Art Center College of Design.

“These institutions are driving a tech, life science and startup revolution entirely driven by sciences and technology patents that are created and controlled by Caltech and JPL,” JLL added.

This is the first transaction to be completed on behalf of Swift’s recently raised $500M Fund III, which is focused on investments in Northern California, Southern California and the Pacific Northwest, JLL added.

JLL’s Michael Leggett, Andrew Harper and Matt McRoskey represented the seller. JLL’s Capital Markets team led by Paul Brindley, Todd Sugimoto, Jeff Sause and Steven Paskover.arranged the acquisition financing, the statement said.

City’s Real Estate Market Stays Hot. For Now

Mon, 2019-11-11 16:07

According to one local commercial realtor, the city’s commercial real estate business is booming, but she cautions it won’t last forever.

Colleen Carey, founding principal of commercial real estate firm Lee and Associates Pasadena, was recently asked by Pasadena Chamber of Commerce President Paul Little for an update on commercial real estate in Pasadena.

According to Carey, the commercial real estate market is buzzing because of a robust economy and because interest rates are low and capital plentiful.

Colleen Carey, founding principal of commercial real estate firm Lee and Associates Pasadena. Courtesy photo

“But it’s cyclical,” she pointed out. “We will go into a cycle in the future where it isn’t so rampant, because there’s no capital available for developers to be able to build. If you look at what’s happening right now, this has not happened in 40 years.”

The length and health of commercial real estate’s run in Pasadena can be attributed to a certain insulation it enjoys thanks to considerable sums of money that stay in Pasadena, and considerable sums that come from beyond Pasadena.

Even so, Carey said, “I think we are all feeling that the market has to top out at some point. What goes up has to come down.”
Carey said the city’s local commercial real estate market has been transforming for some time.

“We have very little industrial real estate anymore,” she explained. “What’s here has been gentrified into office and retail. That is primarily what makes up the commercial real estate market in Pasadena.”

More specifically, the type of development is retail on the ground floor. “Retail wants to be where there are congregations of people,” said Carey. “So it’s perfectly appropriate to do it in the central district.”

Development today has much to do with how well-connected cities are to transit because it clusters around transportation hubs, she noted.

The city currently has a number of ongoing high-end projects.

The William Carey International Campus is undergoing a facelift at the hands of EF, a Swiss-based international education company offering study abroad.

An old residence hall was demolished for the construction of a new one consisting of three floors and intended to house 500 students in triple rooms, with shared bathrooms, community spaces, and laundry rooms.

“It will become a very viable place,” she said. “They are building student housing up there and they have a lot of the small homes in that neighborhood that they are fixing up as well. So it’s a wonderful development for the city of Pasadena.”

Alexandria Real Estate leased land on Euclid Avenue and Union Street, just a block North of Paseo, and built a property to serve as their home office as part of an 82,000 square-foot office complex just completed, Carey noted.

Adept Realty, in partnership with Singpoli Investors, is in the early stages of approvals to build a 117,000 square-foot mixed-use development at the southwest corner of North Lake Avenue and Union Street.

It would include 54 condos, and 65,000 square feet of office space and a smaller amount of ground-floor retail facing Lake Avenue.

“It’s a gorgeous property and compliments the city center area very well,” said Carey.

The biggest development in town currently is at 100 West Walnut, she stated. It is on the north side of the Parson’s complex and is currently under construction at Walnut and Fair Oaks Avenue.

Upon completion there will be 400 residential units coupled with 210,000 square feet of commercial office space and 17,500 square feet of retail and dining space. Its anticipated completion is 2025.

“It provides a modern, mixed-use extension of historic Old Pasadena,” said Carey.

“The residential-over-retail construction will be phase two,” she continued. “there will be about 17,000 square feet retail along Fair Oaks with another 200 or so for-rent apartments, 400 residential units, with completion expected in 2025.”

Architect Rob Tyler has designed a property at 711 Walnut Street and the northwest corner of El Molino Avenue that will be going up soon and offer 115 residential units, six stories, and about 10,000-square feet of retail, according to Carey.

“That area between Lake Avenue and Los Robles Avenue had a lot of buildings that frankly needed some attention,” said Carey. “And with densities that are offered there residentially became very interesting to developers over the last few years.”

Lee sees the city’s Playhouse District, where her own company chose to locate its office, and an area with some of the highest densities in town, as particularly attractive to developers.

Her profile of the central city market covers transactions over the past 18 months with exchange values of $10 million or more.

“So it’s obviously attractive to these developers,” said Carey, “and I believe that is where development should take place – in the central district – where there’s good proximity to transportation, light rail stations, et cetera.”

Carey observed that state policy is pushing for just such clusters of housing and transportation and developers would like to take advantage of that wind blowing at their backs by delivering more inventory to Pasadena.

SB 50 would create far-reaching changes in zoning rules across California, preempting local land use controls to allow for swaths of land dedicated to single-family homes to be eligible for bigger developments and requiring cities to allow super-sized housing projects near transit.

The bill comes up for a vote in 2020. The Pasadena City Council has opposed the bill, which is supported by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“But at the same time,” Carey noted, “there is a large constituency that’s lived here for a long time that doesn’t want Pasadena to change.”

What longtime Pasadena residents want is the low-rise construction, low traffic model they know from years past. Carey doesn’t believe it has to be viewed as an either-or proposition.

“Just because your developing in the central district doesn’t mean that you’re going to create significant traffic issues if you do it right, which I think Pasadena is doing it correctly,” she said.

Carey credited city planning with limiting the amount of parking that developments can offer in an effort to draw a resident that forsakes the automobile for the mobile convenience of the dense urban environment.

“That’s what urban planning is all about,” she asserted. “How do you entice people to live in the central core and walk or take public transportation as opposed to everyone driving a vehicle? And if you look around the country, in general, that has happened in all the urban cores.”

Some developers, she reported, are trying to rush through their permit approvals before the City Council reacts, “to put a damper on development.”

But for now there is no damper, at least not from an economic perspective.



Pasadena’s Inventive Robot-Chef Caliburger Restaurant Opens Second Location

Mon, 2019-11-11 07:26

CaliBurger, the global quick-service restaurant chain that opened its Kitchen Lab in Pasadena in 2016, will soon unveil its first “CaliBurger 2.0” in Fort Myers, Florida, with other similar stores opening in Seattle, Tysons in Virginia, and again in Pasadena later in the year.

Caliburger 2.0 will feature a new menu that incorporates the best products from CaliBurger in the Washington DC market, and the Kitchen Lab in Pasadena, a report in Total Food Service Friday said.

The Fort Myers location, as well as the other upcoming Caliburger 2.0 stores, will have Flippy, Miso Robotics’ burger-flipping kitchen assistant, working in the kitchen.

Flippy, developed by Miso Robotics, also based in Pasadena, debuted at the Pasadena location in 2017.

Customers can also order the new products on self-ordering kiosks incorporating PopID, a digital facial recognition platform allowing them to pay with a smile instead of a credit card, according to the report.

PopID streamlines the ordering process by remembering previous orders and personalizing the ordering experience, without having to fumble for cash or credit cards. The friendly staff also offers the traditional ordering experience in-store.

At the Fort Myers location, guests can enjoy watching not one but two “Flippys” in the kitchen: one cooks burgers to perfection on the grill, and another produces crispy french fries on the fry station.

According to the report, the new CaliBurger 2.0 menu includes the Santa Monica Burger, Malibu BLT Burger and Beyond Cali, a 100-percent vegan interpretation of the CaliDouble.

CaliBurger said it is also unveiling a Crispy K-Town Chicken Sandwich with Asian slaw and spicy Gochujang sauce.

Caliburger in Pasadena, located at 245 E Green Street, is currently under renovation, according to the restaurant’s website.

For more information, visit

Kaiser Permanente Mourns the Loss of Bernard J. Tyson, Chairman and CEO

Sun, 2019-11-10 13:18

Bernard J. Tyson, Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, unexpectedly passed away early Sunday, November 10, 2019 in his sleep, a company statement reported. Courtesy photo

Healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente, which maintains a large regional headquarters office in Pasadena, announced today that its Chairman and CEO, Bernard J. Tyson, unexpectedly passed away early Sunday in his sleep.

“On behalf of our Board of Directors, employees and physicians, we extend our deepest sympathies to Bernard’s family during this very difficult time,” a statement read. “An outstanding leader, visionary and champion for high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans, Bernard was a tireless advocate for Kaiser Permanente, our members and the communities we serve. Most importantly, Bernard was a devoted husband, father and friend. We all will miss his tremendous presence in our lives.”

Effective immediately, the board of directors has named Gregory A. Adams, Executive Vice President and Group President, as interim Chairman and CEO.

“Bernard was an exceptional colleague, a passionate leader, and an honorable man. We will greatly miss him,” said board member Edward Pei, Chair of the Executive Committee and the Governance, Accountability and Nominating Committee. “The board has full confidence in Greg Adams’ ability to lead Kaiser Permanente through this unexpected transition.”


Vroman’s Marks 125 Years in Pasadena with Celebration of Crime Author Walter Mosley on Its Walk of Fame

Sat, 2019-11-09 05:41

Author Walter Mosley. Image courtesy Vroman's

Vroman’s will honor crime author Walter Mosley with a special presentation at the Vroman’s Walk of Fame, as the Pasadena institution celebrates its 125th Anniversary on Nov. 9.

The important marker brings in a new era as the multi-faceted store has announced it has dropped the word “bookstore” from its name.

Vroman’s has grown to not only sell many things other than books, but it has developed into an important community resource and meeting place over 125 years in business.

On Saturday, Vroman’s will honor crime novelist Mosley with a special presentation at the Vroman’s Walk of Fame. Past recipients have included Michael Connelly, Lisa See, and Los Angeles poet laureate Luis Rodriguez.

Read more about Vroman’s Bookstore Celebrates 125 Years of Its Special Relationship With Pasadena

President and CEO of Vroman’s Allison Hill said the company has never regarded itself as merely a seller of books, but instead a creative center to a vibrant community of customers.

“Sometimes you have to get out of your writing cave and be out talking to people and being stimulated,” Hill said. “We offer that to people, it’s something that’s different than an online experience or going to a store. It’s a very special role we play in people’s lives and in the community.

Hill oversees the two Vroman’s stores: The main store in Pasadena and the branch in Hastings Ranch; she oversees Book Soup on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood and two pop-up stores at LAX, and two ecommerce sites.

Vroman’s offers programs, signings and events as well as coffee and a new wine bar for those who like to have a little glass of something as they socialize and chat over a read. The wine bar is set to open before the holidays.

She said customers asked “Where can I get a glass of wine nearby” and realized by adding the wine bar, it was a way to keep the people where they truly wanted to be instead of sending them down the street.

“I think our responsiveness when customers steer us in different directions, that’s been important also,” she said.

But Vroman’s still has a massive, 85,000 titles of books, in addition to a jewelry counter, a pen and stationery department, gift cards, candles, frames, t-shirts and more.

Hill credited the dedication of the employees for the Vroman’s legacy that continues for more than a century.

Vroman’s is located at 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena.

Sears Pasadena Dodges Another Round of Store Closings

Fri, 2019-11-08 15:44

Department store chain Sears, under new management, will be closing 96 Sears and K-Mart stores by February 2020, with closing-out sales expected to begin on December 2, the company announced.

Sears Pasadena — one again — dodged the bullet once again and will remain open. The store is located in Hastings Ranch at 3801 E Foothill Blvd. It has survived years of Sears cutbacks.

The K-Mart store closest to Pasadena, in Temple City, is also not included in the list of store closures that Transformco, or Transform Holdco LLC, which now owns Sears and K-Mart, just released.

Transformco said following the closures, they will be operating 182 stores throughout the United States and will continue to evaluate their Sears and Kmart footprint in keeping with their overall retail and service strategy.

“We will endeavor to create and deliver value through a strategic combination of our better performing retail stores and our service businesses, brands and other assets, and expect to realize a significant return on our extensive portfolio of owned and leased real estate,” Transformco said in a statement.

Other Transformco-owned brands and assets include Innovel, which provides logistics solutions to businesses and consumers, Sears Home Services and Shop Your Way and financial services, Kenmore and DieHard.

The company also announced a Transformco affiliate has acquired Sears Hometown, a network of more than 400 independently-owned and operated, dealer-managed smaller-format stores that are known for offering customers a range of home products, including appliances, lawn and garden supplies, tools and sporting goods.

Sears also announced it has received $250 million in new financing from the company’s owner, Eddie Lampert and his ESL Investments hedge fund, along with an unnamed third party.

The former owners, Sears Holding Corp., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2018 after reaching a deal with lenders that led to 46 immediate store closures that month, but kept hundreds of other stores open through Christmas.

In January, the retailer closed another 146 stores that it said were losing money.

The one-time powerhouse retailer opened its first Sears store in Chicago in 1925, although Richard Sears and watchmaker Alvah Roebuck had incorporated Sears, Roebuck and Co. in Chicago in 1893.

In 2000, Sears CEO Alan Lacy lead the chain’s merger with K-Mart and the company became Sears Holdings.

In 2015, Sears started closing stores, spinning off 250 stores into a real estate investment trust called Seritage Growth Properties. From then on, Sears has been closing hundreds of locations.

From around 1,300 stores in 2016, Sears and K-Mart it will be down to 182 locations by February 2020, according to the company.

Throughout California, up to 28 Sears and K-Mart stores are in the latest list of closures.

Huntington Hospital Nationally Recognized With an ‘A’ for the Fall 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade

Thu, 2019-11-07 10:33

Huntington Hospital was awarded an ‘A’ in fall 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, a national distinction recognizing Huntington Hospital’s achievements protecting patients from harm and providing safer health care. The Leapfrog Group is an independent national watchdog organization driven by employers and other purchasers of healthcare committed to improving healthcare quality and safety for consumers and purchasers. The Safety Grade assigns an ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’ or ‘F’ grade to all general hospitals across the country based on their performance in preventing medical errors, injuries, accidents, infections and other harms to patients in their care.

“It’s my pleasure to share with you that Huntington Hospital has received another A safety grade from the Leapfrog Group, the gold standard in patient safety,” said Lori J. Morgan, MD, MBA, President and CEO, Huntington Hospital. “This is the 5th consecutive A grade we have achieved, a true testament to our ongoing dedication to safe and excellent care.”

“‘A’ hospitals show us their leadership is protecting patients from preventable medical harm and error,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “It takes genuine commitment at every level – from clinicians to administrators to the board of directors – and we congratulate the teams who have worked so hard to earn this A.”

Developed under the guidance of a National Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. acute-care hospitals twice per year. The Hospital Safety Grade’s methodology is peer-reviewed and fully transparent, and the results are free to the public.

Huntington Hospital was awarded an ‘A’ grade today, when Leapfrog announced grades for the fall 2019 update. To see Huntington Hospital’s full grade details, learn how employers can help, and access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit