Big Changes Proposed for Windowless Building in Downtown Pasadena

Published : Saturday, January 19, 2019 | 7:23 AM

The iconic “windowless” Bank of America building could be “windowed” if a proposed facelift for the building is approved by a City commission which meets today.

According to the city’s Department of Planning and Community Development, the structure at 101 South Marengo Avenue in Pasadena, which Bank of America has occupied for more than 40 years, is set for a makeover.

The Planning Department will present the plan to the Design Commission during Tues., Jan. 22 meeting.

The five-story building, a monolithic 345,558 square-foot rectangular structure that sits on an incline along Green Street from South Arroyo Parkway up to Marengo Avenue, has been known as the BankAmericard Center since it was completed in 1974.

It was designed by John F. Adams of Edward Durell Stone Inc.

Last year, Bank of America announced it was not renewing the lease which expires this year. The building is currently owned by Horizontal Capital Partners LLC.

On Tuesday, the Design Commission will deliberate a proposal for “major modifications,” most of which have to do with creating window openings for offices uses. The proposed modifications are currently under the preliminary consultation phase of the City’s approval process.

A staff report from the Department of Planning shows the project applicant wants to create horizontal ribbons of windows on all four sides of the building. The windows will have slightly different patterns based on the solar orientation of each elevation.

The creation of the window openings would involve removal of horizontal bands of the travertine panels covering the structure, on all sides, from the fully-glazed first floor upward.

The staff report said the building was evaluated in 2015 for potential historical significance, at the request of a potential buyer, and was found to be ineligible for historical designation.

The Design Commission will also consider recommendations by the Planning Department to make the window project consistent with the character of other office buildings in Pasadena and those in its immediate environs.

The Design Commission meeting on Tuesday begins at 6:30 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, Room S249 at City Hall.