Major New Luxury Development ‘Andalucia’ Opens in Playhouse District

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by EDDIE RIVERA, Community Editor | Video by BRANDON VILLALOVOS

5:28 am | April 7, 2017

Adding to the ever-growing development and renewal of the Playhouse District, developers Mack Urban and Mill Creek Development cut the ribbon Thursday on the Andalucia, a new 118- unit, Spanish Revival-style luxury apartment building at 686 E. Union Street, north of Colorado Boulevard at North El Molino Avenue.

At the gathering Mayor Terry Tornek acknowledged public concerns over Pasadena’s recent and rapid-paced city-wide apartment and condominium development, especially in Central Pasadena.

“Pasadena is in the throes of a real transition, and there is some uncertainty about the wisdom of the path that we’re on,” Tornek said. “But I really think that those who are railing against any new development in town — and who feel threatened that somehow we’re going down the wrong path, or we are going to lose the essence of what it means to be in Pasadena — should come here, and take a look at what high quality development can mean in terms of providing for the city’s future.”

Tornek added, “[The Andalucia development] sets the bar where it should be, in terms of high quality new development for the city that is keeping with what we’re trying to achieve here.”

The Andalucia’s authentic Spanish Revival architecture features Mediterranean gardens, wrought-iron gates, period light fixtures, tiled fountains, and courtyards with outdoor stairs and fireplaces, with most residences fronting interior courtyards.

The $50 million-dollar development is a joint venture between Mack Urban and Mill Creek Development. Residences range from 550 square feet to 1,250 square feet, with studios, 1-bedrooms, 2-bedrooms and townhomes. The development also includes its own dedicated underground parking.

According to the company’s announcement, eleven homes are reserved for low-income tenants.

“We think it’s a great way to respect the diversity of our community,” said long-time Pasadenan Kenneth McCormick, founder of the partner developer, Mill Creek Development.

McCormick’s Mill Creek was founded in 2003 to create projects to revitalize the Playhouse District. The company has completed the adjacent Granada Court in 2007, began developing Union Village in 2008, and is now also working on two other projects in the district.

“This was an effort to try to get people who wanted to live two blocks from lots of everything. You can walk to Target, you can go to the Playhouse, you can go to the Pacific Asia Museum, you can buy books, drink coffee and so much more. It’s all been a new urbanist journey of how we could create more of a cultural nexus for the town,” explained McCormick.

The primary developer, Mack Urban, owns, builds and manages numerous large-scale urban infill projects throughout Southern California, including the revamped Del Mar Station and La Grande Orange. The firm’s projects include transit-oriented development, high-rise residential, mixed-use multifamily, adaptive reuse, and student and senior housing developments.

Mack Urban is a subsidiary of Mack Real Estate Group, which has over 5,000 rental units in various stages of development and operation with a total cost in excess of $2.5 billion.

“We’ve created a boutique building that is faithful to the heritage of Pasadena and the authentic Spanish Revival courtyard buildings popular in the 1920s,” said John Gunn, managing director of Mack Urban. “In addition to state-of-the-art amenities, the community includes a retail paseo along the southern and western edges to house up to five shops, boutiques and a restaurant.”

The Andalucia sits in a centrally located to Pasadena’s most lively neighborhoods with an average distance of 1.3 miles from both the bottom of South Lake district and the western most point of Old Pasadena.
“It’s not your typical building that you see coming online these days. It’s more about a sense of place, ambiance, romance and character. When you come in here you feel like you’re in the south of Italy or somewhere in Spain,” said Gunn.

“We were trying to make it feel like this building has been here for many generations,” McCormick added, referring to the European-inspired courtyard based design.

The Andalucia references the “craft” and “vintage” Spanish Colonial Revival courtyard-style buildings that defined Pasadena and Hollywood in the 1920s. An arched, wrought-iron entry leads to a set of courtyards, open-air pathways, loggias and balconies, along with terra cotta pavers, tiled fountains and rough-troweled stucco, as well as custom lanterns and sconces. Landscaping includes olive, Italian cypress, and citrus trees.

Inside the high-ceilinged residences, luxury appointments include light oak-plank flooring, white and grey quartz countertops, subway-tile backsplashes and stainless-steel appliances.

The Andalucia courtyards also offer Belgian linen sofas, leather club chairs, rustic wood surfaces and wrought-iron chandeliers. The Community Room includes a fireplace, television, card tables, and a casual conference room. The fitness room has high ceilings and French doors that open to an open-air courtyard with fountains and potted landscaping. The property’s fourth floor features a barbeque deck with teak communal tables, resort-style club chairs and views of the San Gabriel Mountains.

According to a company press release, apartments will start at $1,839 for a studio, $2,231 for a 1-bedroom, $2,909 for a 2-bedroom, or $3,399 for a townhome.

More information about the Andalucia and leasing is available at