Orange Groove or Orange Grapple? Councilmember Kennedy Convenes Summit with Neighbors, Project Developer

Published : Wednesday, October 16, 2019 | 4:54 AM

There is a new project almost ready to break ground at the corner of Orange Grove Boulevard and Lincoln Avenue and District 3 City Councilmember John J. Kennedy has convened a meeting at which his constituents can query the builder face-to-face.

The October 17 confab will bring before District 3 residents Charles Loveman, executive director, Heritage Housing Partners, which is developing the project.

“Some of the neighbors had concerns related to traffic development and livability issues,” said Kennedy. “So rather than dealing with it on a piecemeal basis, I thought it would be a smart move to have the community come together and voice their concerns directly to the developer.”

According to Loveman, the plan is for a 46-unit home ownership project with low income, moderate income, and workforce income units, along with 6,200 square feet of ground floor retail, and a small community meeting room.

Heritage Housing Partners will also move its offices to the location, according to Loveman who said the groundbreaking will be in the late spring or summer of 2020.

Loveman thinks residents will come around to the project as it represents an improvement on an abandoned gas station decomposing on the corner since the mid-’90s.

“It has really kind of held back the neighborhood,” Loveman told Pasadena Now. “I just think the project is going to give it a big shot in the arm. It will be a place to go and hang out.”

The retail portion will be anchored by Perry’s Joint, a second for that business which already operates an eatery on North Lincoln.

The project, Loveman suggested, his sound housing policy as it avoids putting a “density project” in a neighborhood of single-family homes, instead siting it on a busy commercial street.

The project took flight thanks to $9.5 million from the developer of the project known as 10 West Walnut. The law allows a developer wanting to forego building affordable housing units in a project to provide monies to a nonprofit housing developer and, in this case, that was HHP.

Kennedy, who said it is a goal of his to broaden the number of affordable housing builders in Pasadena, indicated he was not thrilled with the manner in which the project came together, given that the money was awarded absent a competitive process.

“My feeling,” he explained, “was that the $9.5 million for what we’re going to get on the corner of Orange Grove and Lincoln could have been leveraged to get more units. So that’s the little rub.”

Nevertheless, he conceded, HHP has done “a fairly good job in building quality products in Pasadena for affordable housing.”

The meeting will take place from 6 p.m to 7:30 p.m. Pasadena Housing Department offices at Fair Oaks Renaissance Plaza, 649 North Fair Oaks Boulevard, No. 2020.

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