So a few months back while checking out some retail space for a potential restaurant, I learned that the 12-story AT&T office building located between Old Town Pasadena and Paseo Colorado was quietly on the market for sale. The aging office building had long lost its ability to command top rents because of its dated interior that will need tons of remodeling done to bring it up to Class A office standards. In this economic climate? It looks like this office building will be on the market for awhile.
However, that could be a good thing if it attracts another kind of investor.
What makes this office building very unique are two things, 1) it’s an existing 12-story building which would be incredibly hard to build again in a city full of NIMBYs, and 2) the location is the best you can possibly be in Pasadena. Why? Just look at where it’s located. The AT&T building is centrally located and is literally surrounded by Old Town Pasadena, Paseo Colorado, the Civic Center, and the Pasadena Convention Center, with direct access to the Memorial Park Gold Line station and 110 freeway via Arroyo Pkwy. It’s literally right smack-dab in the middle of everything!
A little exploring of the property reveals that this AT&T building would be an absolutely incredible location for a hotel, but not just any hotel, a W Hotel. Why? Because W Hotels have the kind of international brand recognition that attracts other big names that bring more investment and jobs and tax revenues. Not only that, a W Hotel would be the powerful “glue” that finally binds and connects Old Town Pasadena with Paseo Colorado and the Civic Center. That kind of pedestrian connection cannot be underestimated in the context of a maturing urban environment.
Are you listening Sam Nazarian?
The scenario is perfect as there is already multiple levels of parking in the back to satisfy city parking requirements and plenty of unused space around the property to convert to outdoor dining for the hotel lounges/cafes. It’s also only one block from the Memorial Park Gold Line station where international and domestic visitors can get from LAX -> Union Station -> W Hotel Pasadena easily and conveniently.
The concept of rethinking obsolete is nothing new, of course, as many office buildings have been adaptively reused in LA for other purposes, especially in Downtown LA where numerous beautiful historic office buildings have been converted to lofts and condos and are given another second chance at life.
In order for the AT&T building to ever become lucrative for its owner(s), it must pour millions into renovations, so why not woo the right developer to come and do the job right? In my opinion, a W Hotel would be perfect.