Westgate is one of my favorite developments in Pasadena solely because it expands the urban fabric of Pasadena. What used to be nothing but ugly unused lots and empty buildings in disrepair is now an area transforming into a bona fide neighborhood that will one day be an integral part of Pasadena. I see a not-so-distant future neighborhood full of activity including people jogging, walking their dogs, taking a stroll on a summer evening, and new retail shops catering to both residents and out-of-town visitors. The “Westgate District,” being seamlessly connected to Old Pasadena’s southern boundaries, will feel like a natural urban extension as most people won’t even know that at one time “the excitement” and charm of Old Pasadena ended at De Lacey and Green. Just like people take for granted what Paseo Colorado has done for Pasadena in place of the failed indoor mall Plaza Pasadena.
I had a chance to view some of the floor plans and amenities of Westgate Apartments today. I was told by the General Manager, Gina Lopez, that 17 units have been leased out already and first move-ins occurred on Nov. 21, 2009. Square footage of units range from one-bedrooms at 774SF to 1336SF for the townhouse units. As I toured the complex, I was impressed by the facilities available to residents including: full scale gym (we’re talking gym membership replacement), pool with barbecue grill, conference room, Internet cafe, and even a movie screening room. The units themselves were upscale with nice appliances, and I especially liked the townhouses that had front doors that lead directly out to the street. It reminds me of row houses/brownstones prevalent on the East Coast. It basically means easy access to the street to be a pedestrian.
I was also excited to learn about two features of Westgate that I think will contribute to the community. One is a public park that will be finished by June 2010 called De Lacey Commons, which will front De Lacey Ave. and include a mature transplanted tree surrounded by an art installation by renowned artist Larry Kirkland. The second feature is a network of paseos that slice through the complex and will be open to the public. I find that extremely important for a city aspiring to be pedestrian-friendly. Large blocks should be broken up into smaller ones to promote walking.
All-in-all, I am very excited about Westgate and how it will change this part of Pasadena for the better. I am eager to see the rest of the phases start construction as soon as the economy recovers so we can finally realize the full potential of this nascent neighborhood.