Site of Former Popular Twin Palms Restaurant, Originally Founded by Kevin Costner, is Slated for Transformation

Published : Monday, October 22, 2018 | 4:38 AM

Plans to build a new two-story, 14,008-square-foot commercial/office on the site of the former Twin Palms Restaurant in Old Pasadena, originally founded by Kevin Costner, could soon be realized after the City’s Hearing Officer last month approved a Minor Conditional Use Permit that would allow the developer to reduce the building’s previously proposed three stories down to two.

On Tuesday, the City’s Design Commission will deliberate on the application for changes to the project that was initially given a go-signal in March last year.

The original Twin Palms was started in 1994 by famous actor Kevin Costner and his then-wife Cindy when they resided in La Cañada Flintridge. It shuttered in 2002 and then underwent a series of evolutions until finally closing in 2015.

Sunshine Management Group LLC, owned by Jack Guiragosian, started talking with the City about that time about plans to develop the site and build a three-story, 15,525-square-foot commercial/office building.

While cleaning up the site in November 2016, Guiragosian’s workers illegally cut down two 35-feet-tall Canary palm trees that once towered side-by-side over the corner of South DeLacey Avenue and West Green Street and gave the now defunct restaurant its name.

Guiragosian paid a $7,000 fine levied by the City as penalty for cutting down the City-protected trees without permission – a misdemeanor violation of the city’s tree ordinance. Work also stopped on the development project.

After the Design Commission approved an application for Concept Design Review for the three-story concept in March 2017, the developer submitted a new conceptual design reducing the project to two stories to ensure compliance with the Zoning Code.

A staff report from the Department of Planning and Community Development said it is recommending approval of the major changes but listed several conditions that the Design Commission should consider during the final design review later.

The project site is about 8,534 square feet and is within the Old Pasadena Historic District and the Central District Specific Plan area.

Under the Costners’ tenure, Twin Palms consisted of two semi-enclosed structures and a large canopy, designed to accommodate a large outdoor dining area. These structures have since been removed. The lot is now surrounded by a stucco wall.

The new project design says 6,674 square feet of ground floor space will be programmed for a restaurant space and a retail space. The 7,334 square-foot second floor will be dedicated to office uses, with an outdoor balcony fronting on Green Street.

No parking is proposed on site. The Planning Department said parking credits and an off-site lease agreement have been determined to provide for the project’s parking requirements.

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