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City Council Greenlights Large-Scale Affinity Project

Published on Wednesday, November 23, 2022 | 5:53 am

The City Council has finally greenlighted the planned development status for the Affinity Project, a pair of seven story buildings to contain medical offices, an assisted living  facility and commercial spaces along a stretch of Arroyo Parkway just north of California Boulevard.

The project would result in the demolition of six of the nine existing commercial buildings at the site and the construction of  a 154,000 square foot medical office building and a 184,376 square foot assisted living building, with up to 95 senior housing units. 

During the early discussions on the project, residents raised their concerns on the potential adverse impacts of the project in the quality of air and in the traffic situation on the already congested streets surrounding the site. 

Some also raised concerns about the removal of the 23 non-protected non-native trees and two protected, non-native street trees at the site, which runs from 465 to 577 South Arroyo Parkway, 

Last October, the City Council conducted a public hearing for the Affinity Project and unanimously voted to continue the item to the November 21 City Council meeting after giving its direction on several conditions on the project, including setbacks, a local mobility analysis and language on local hiring.  

After the October meeting, city staff have proposed additional project conditions to facilitate a decision based on the City Council’s direction. 

The additional conditions include limiting the medical office building to a maximum of 75 feet, requiring the building to provide a stepback of 15 feet at the top two floors, requiring the project to be analyzed under the city’s Local Mobility Analysis, requiring local hiring, contracting with a goal of 20% to attract local businesses and that tier 1 local hire be exhausted before going to other tiers and requiring Conditional Use Permit if a residential option is chosen in the medical office building. 

Before voting unanimously to approve the item, the City Council amended the proposed new conditions. It agreed to limit the medical office building to 80 feet as opposed to 75 feet after Pete Kutzer, managing partner at Edgewood Realty Partners, said the project will lose two floors and will become unfeasible, if the Council decides to limit the building height to 75 feet. 

Regarding local hiring, the City Council also decided to require the developer to provide incubator space for local businesses and require local hiring in all three tiers as opposed to the proposal that tier 1 local hire be exhausted before going to other tiers.

It also approved a condition requiring the jobs coordinator of the project to report to the city on a quarterly basis to ensure that they are meeting the goals regarding local hiring. 

According to Kutzer, the Affinity Project will provide “$91 million in Pasadena jobs” and will boost the local economy. 

“We are willing to do outreach in attempts to find local businesses to take on space at the building,” Kutzer assured. 

The project will generate $1 million a year in general fund revenue which will grow each year, as per Kutzer. 

“Affinity is all about people and providing for them,” said Kutzer. “Affinity will fulfill a need that touches everyone, providing quality of life for mom and dad. We may have to leave our long term homes but we won’t have to leave Pasadena.” 

“Affinity will provide them with an attractive and beautifully landscaped environment that welcomes family and friends.”

Mayor Victor Gordo recused himself from voting on the Affinity Project.

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