Published : Wednesday, September 28, 2016 | 8:36 PM
Councilmember Andy Wilson has scheduled a Town Hall meeting Thursday evening about a developer’s plans to convert portions of the iconic New Orleans Colonial-style Thatcher Building Medical Center in Green Street’s Village district into residences, backed by a new four-story, multi-family residential building.
The project plan has drawn the ire of building tenants, most of whom are medical professionals, and neighborhood residents.
Wilson, who has taken a neutral position on the matter, said the meeting is more about understanding the process of development than the merits or demerits of the Thatcher project, but that he understands the concerns citizens may have.
“It’s really a workshop to get the facts on the table,” Wilson said. “We are looking at some concessions for affordable housing that have certainly raised a bunch of community concerns. I’ve received a great deal of correspondence that patients are concerned about access and neighbors are concerned about traffic.”
The project’s official applicant, American General Design of Pasadena, requested housing concessions in order to build 20 residential units on the second and third floors of the three-story Green Street building, and to construct a new four-story 79,365 square-foot multi-family residential building with 117 units at the Catalina Street address, currently the site of the Center’s parking lot.
“All the tenants [of the Thatcher Building] and a lot of residents don’t want the development to happen at all,” said Angelina Chen, a member of the community against the project. “We don’t even want a tree to be taken out of the parking lot.”
American General Design of Pasadena representative Robert Montano said the designer will work to address the array of different concerns doctors, residents, patients and nearby merchants may have.
“They all have unique positions,” Montano said of the project’s dissenters. “The entire point of this conversation will be to address [those] concerns and to hear anything we’ve not heard before.”
Montano went on to say that it’s still very early in the process and the project may drastically change by the time it is actually approved by Pasadena.
“We’re at the very start of a multi-year process with the City of Pasadena, we’ve only taken the very first step. We’ve not gone through design review or the planning department,” he said. “This project may look nothing like it does today — this is the way the CIty’s procedure works.”
Last month, a group of over 100 of the project’s detractors went to a city meeting to make plain their opposition to the plan to convert the medical center.
“This building has a legacy of medicine, a half-century of tradition,” said Sandra Greenberg, a pediatrician, during the meeting. “Once this construction happens, our patients won’t want to come back.”
At that meeting, Pasadena Zoning Hearing Officer Paul Novak Thursday rejected an application for an Affordable Housing Concession Permit relative to 12 “very low income” units planned for the project.
The Thatcher Medical Center was reportedly purchased jointly last September by Tucson-based real estate investment firm Holualoa Cos. and local developer Patrick Chraghchian. The buyers are said to have paid $28 million.
Wilson’s town hall meeting will start at 6 p.m. in the Founders Hall of Polytechnic School located at 1030 East California Boulevard.
For questions and more information, please call 626-441-4802.