Fountains to Be Focus of Plaza : $200-Million Project to Get Under Way in Pasadena

Just in time for the Rose Parade, a ground breaking will be held Monday for the $200-million Plaza Las Fuentes, a 6.8-acre mixed-use development in the heart of downtown Pasadena.

After lengthy and sometimes emotional public hearings over the site, the project--which exceeds the 75-foot height limit for buildings in the downtown area--is finally getting under way between Colorado Boulevard, Walnut Street, Los Robles and Euclid avenues.

Completion would mean fulfillment of what the design architects, Moore Ruble Yudell of Los Angeles, consider a 64-year-old dream.

In a prepared statement, the firm announced:

"The project seeks to fulfill the Civic Master Plan of 1923, which envisioned City Hall as a jewel in the center of a grand public garden. The design team has worked to link all new elements of the project to City Hall."

City Hall is across the street from the project, on Euclid Avenue.

Plaza Las Fuentes is being developed by Los Angeles-headquartered Maguire Thomas Partners, a dominant force in the renaissance of downtown Los Angeles with such projects as Wells Fargo Center, Library Tower and Grand Place Tower.

Plaza Las Fuentes is being built by Dinwiddie Construction to echo the tradition of Pasadena's Beaux-Arts architectural heritage, especially noticeable at City Hall.

Beaux-Arts Example

Built in 1927, Pasadena's City Hall is one of the best examples of the Beaux-Arts style in the country. It was declared a national landmark in 1978, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Landscape architect Lawrence Halprin of San Francisco, who is also designing the Bunker Hill Steps and Grand Hope Park in downtown Los Angeles, drew upon Moorish influences to complement the architecture.

True to its name, Plaza Las Fuentes, meaning Plaza of the Fountains, will have its own parade--one of fountains, which will serve as the focal point of public gardens and courtyards.

Halprin said that each of the courtyards will have "a unique character with beautiful pavings, lush plantings, fountains and waterfalls." Terraced public gardens will stretch from Los Robles Avenue to City Hall.

Robert F. Maguire III, co-managing partner of Maguire Thomas Partners, said that Plaza Las Fuentes will be "a gateway to City Hall."

The project's fountains and landscaped public space also will form a core that anchors the 12-story, 360-room Doubletree Hotel, eight-story office building and two free-standing restaurants in the first phase and the retail shops, restaurants, public plazas and 10- and 12-story office buildings in the second phase.

The Phase 1 office building will serve as Southern California headquarters for the Federal National Mortgage Assn. (Fannie Mae), which will relocate from Westwood.

Phase 1 is due to be completed in the spring of 1989. Phase 2 is scheduled to be launched in late 1989.

Construction Boom

The project is part of a construction boom in a city that recently had a reputation as a tough town for developers.

During the fiscal year that ended last June, records showed that more than $190 million in new construction had been approved by the city. The previous record, set in 1982-'83, was $137 million. Of the 5 million square feet of commercial space built in Pasadena during the past decade, more than half was constructed in the last three years.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World