Plaza Project Given OK to Exceed Height Limit

Times Staff Writer

Plaza las Fuentes, a sprawling and controversial redevelopment project to be built across the street from City Hall, on Tuesday was given approval to exceed the height limit for buildings in the downtown area.

Under a zoning change adopted solely for the project area, the developers of Plaza las Fuentes will be allowed to construct a 145-foot-high luxury hotel and a 105-foot-high office building in an area where the height limit is 75 feet.

Height had been a major source of contention for opponents of the project, more than 200 of whom turned out in December for two lengthy and emotional hearings on the development plans. They claimed that the height of the planned development would obscure views of the downtown area.

Few Opponents Attend

But only a handful of speakers was present at Tuesday's hearing.

Plans for the $120-million project call for a 10-story luxury hotel, restaurants, office buildings and retail space to be built in two phases on 6.8 acres. Its developers, Maguire/Thomas Pasadena Center Ltd., recently received financial help from the city in the form of $16 million in tax-exempt bonds to be used to acquire land and build an 850-space subterranean parking garage.

The first phase of the redevelopment project, which is scheduled to be completed in October, 1988, includes the 350-room luxury hotel, two restaurants and 180,000-square-foot commercial building. It is to be located on the block bordered by Union Street to the south, Los Robles Avenue on the east, Walnut Street to the north, and Euclid Avenue on the west.

City Director Rick Cole, who mailed 350 letters on city stationery urging Pasadena residents to rally against the project during the December hearings, was the lone dissenter in Tuesday's vote on the zoning matter.

Supporters Praise Design

Proponents of Plaza las Fuentes have said the development will bring added revenues and jobs for the city, and have praised the project's architectural design, which incorporates a civic garden and fountains that look onto City Hall.

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