Two Major Vacant Pasadena Commercial Properties Attract Important New Tenants

Doheny Eye Institute poised to occupy former Avery Dennison site, and New York’s Institute of Culinary Education to move into former Cordon Bleu space on Green Street

Published : Friday, November 17, 2017 | 6:15 AM

The 150 N. Orange Grove building which reportedly house the Doheny Eye Institute, left, and Institute of Culinary Education Pasadena President Lochland Sands shown outside the building at 521 East Green Street which his school will occupy.

The 150 N. Orange Grove building which reportedly house the Doheny Eye Institute, left; at right, Institute of Culinary Education Pasadena President Lochland Sands shown outside the building at 521 East Green Street which his school will occupy.

Two significant vacant landmark properties in Pasadena are about to house well-regarded new tenants and are expected to re-emerge as vibrant hubs of activity.

The 123,200-square-foot former home of Avery Dennison Corporation, at 150 North Orange Grove — now owned by real estate investment firm SteelWave — is under contract to be sold to the Doheny Eye Institute, for roughly $50 million, according to a media report citing Christopher Clinton Conway, chief of development and public affairs at Doheny.

In the Playhouse District, the New York City-based Institute of Culinary Education, known as ICE, will revamp and occupy up to 40% of the now-empty Pasadena culinary campus at 521 East Green Street that once served as the site of the renowned culinary school Le Cordon Bleu, according to both city and ICE officials.

Pasadena Public Information Officer William Boyer confirmed that both the Doheny Eye Institute and the Institute of Culinary Education are heading to Pasadena.

“We are delighted that they are coming,” Boyer said. “These are both preeminent organizations in their fields, so we are delighted that they recognize Pasadena as a desirable place to be.”

Boyer continued, “They bring with them, of course, jobs and employees, and we are delighted that this represents economic growth. The jobs and salaries means that more money will be spent here locally, and that’s always a good thing for us.”

The Doheny Eye Institute reportedly will be moving its headquarters to the site as an owner/occupier, local sources quoted by Real Deal, said. The UCLA-affiliated institute currently occupies a building on the University of Southern California campus.

According to real estate records, the property was sold to Legacy Partners Commercial, now known as SteelWave, by Avery Dennison, for $17 million in 2013. Avery then leased the site back from Legacy for a year.

SteelWave has since renovated the property, with an outdoor amenity deck, expansive landscaping, floor-to-ceiling glass windows and energy-efficient technologies, according to Real Deal, but the property has remained vacant ever since.

Across town near the Pasadena Playhouse, the New York City-based Institute of Culinary Education will revamp the former Le Cordon Bleu building, which is already equipped with teaching kitchens.

The three-story building spans Green Street from South Oakland Avenue to South Madison Avenue.

Speaking from Manhattan, Rick Smilow, the Instutute’s President and CEO, said ICE will lease about 40 percent of the Green Street property, with another cooking school leasing a portion of the remaining property.

Smilow also said that the school would be hiring about 20 employees to open, eventually hiring up to 60 employees.

Coincidentally, incoming Pasadena ICE campus President Lochland Sands worked at the former Cordon Bleu location, which was the school’s American flagship, before the facility closed in 2015.

“There were things that I was unable to do with Le Cordon Bleu that I know I’m going to be able to do with ICE,” Sands said.

Sands explained that in Manhattan, “ICE … really occupies a space as a hub of both intellectual culinary arts and culinary philanthropy in the city.”

“When people are looking to have some form of benefit or a conference about sustainability, they think of ICE first as far as partnering to host the events or to supply chefs for those events,” Sands said. “This is a very much an enriching opportunity for the students who are attending ICE. And I’m very excited about that opportunity here.”

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