Landmark Calling! Avon Building, Site of Incoming Home Depot in East Pasadena, May Earn Historic Designation

Published : Monday, November 18, 2019 | 6:15 AM

Apparently with Home Depot’s blessing, Pasadena’s Avon building in East Pasadena headed for likely landmark designation at tonight’s City Council meeting.

The iconic building at 2940 E. Foothill Blvd. is the site of a new Home Depot store. The designation could result in Home Depot’s having to apply for a certificate of appropriateness before modifying the building’s exterior.

“Through meetings with Councilmember Gene Masuda’s task force we were pleased that Home Depot listened to our concerns and considered keeping the original building while reusing parts of the early warehouse/assembly building for their store,” said Pasadena Heritage Executive Director Sue Mossman.

The City’s Historic Preservation Commission in September recommended that the Council approve the designation, since the building is a distinctive example of an office building in the Corporate Modern style designed by the architect Stiles O. Clements and retains all of its significant character-defining features.

It was Pasadena Heritage, a local nonprofit advocating for preservation of the City’s many historic structures, that first applied for landmark designation of the building, built in 1947 by William Simpson Construction Co. for Avon Products Co.

“We expect the nomination will be approved, and Home Depot, which now owns the building, supports its designation, but messages of support would be very welcome,” a Pasadena Heritage statement to its members said last weekend.

During a meeting by the Historic Preservation Commission in September, an attorney representing Home Depot was present and indicated the company was in favor of the Avon building’s landmark designation.

Planning Department staff had evaluated the property and determined that the original office building qualifies for designation as a landmark, a report for the City Council said.

The Home Depot had also applied for some modifications on the property, although much of the facade and structure of the Avon building will not change, according to plans. The plans showed Home Depot putting up a large commercial and retail configuration on the site, which has a total area of about nine acres.

The Avon building itself has an area of 367,051 square feet, according to County Assessor records.

In June, Pasadena Heritage said they had no objections to the plans as presented before the City Council.

“The plans presented responded to nearly all of the requests from neighbors and Pasadena Heritage at earlier meetings,” Pasadena Heritage said. “The retention and reuse of the original Avon buildings, designed in 1946 by noted architect Stiles O. Clements with additions by Neptune and Thomas, is a big plus for the project from our perspective.”

Architect Clements was a partner in the firm of Morgan, Walls, and Clements who made his mark with iconic structures such as Hollywood Boulevard’s El Capitan Theater (1926) and the Mayan Theater on Hill Street in downtown Los Angeles (1927).

Born in Centerville, Maryland, Clements moved to Los Angeles in 1911, at age 28. After working for Morgan, Walls and Morgan between 1922 and 1937, Clements established his own firm, Stiles O. Clements and Associates, which later became Stiles O. and Robert O. Clements, Architects-Engineers.

A key figure in the 1920s Art Deco architectural movement, and 1930s Streamline Moderne style, Clements retired in 1965 and passed away in 1966.

Monday’s public hearing on the proposed landmark designation for the Avon building is set at around 7 p.m. at the City Council Chambers at City Hall.

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