Month: June 2011

More Companies Relocating to Downtown LA

Insurance giant Zurich as well as global architect firm Gensler are two major companies that have relocated to Downtown LA from other Southern California sub-markets (Photo: Brigham Yen)

In yet another sign of Downtown LA’s ongoing resurgence, companies once apt to locate their regional headquarters in outlying satellite cities are moving back to the city center, a phenomenon known as “urban consolidation.” Attracted by new amenities and entertainment options in the area not to mention its accessibility by mass transit, companies are ditching the office park in favor of iconic high-rises in the downtown core.

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Brigham Yen Appointed to Pasadena Transportation Advisory Commission

Me taking an oath at the City Clerk's office (Mark Jomsky) at Pasadena City Hall as I am appointed to the Transportation Advisory Commission (Photo: Ann Erdman)

Today was a great day for me as a transit advocate. I was formally appointed onto the 9-member Transportation Advisory Commission (TAC) for the City of Pasadena. (See me taking oath in the picture above.) Councilwoman Jacque Robinson (District 1) nominated me for her district and I was chosen to serve for 3 years on TAC where we will advise the City Council concerning policies that affect Pasadena’s transportation system. I am honored and I look forward to helping my community become more walkable, bike friendly, and transit oriented.

A closer look at my T-shirt:

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The Met Apartments Get New Paint Job in Downtown LA

The Met apartment high-rise on Flower Street is getting a much needed new paint job

The Met in South Park–a 14-story apartment high-rise built in 1989 and owned by Forest City–is finally getting a very welcomed new paint job after sitting many years of having been painted from a previous time with a tacky combination of bright yellow, purple, orange, and green! Whenever I walked by this building, I would always cringe because the colors just reminded me of some giant mutant kindergartener who got lose in the city (think a cuter version of Godzilla) and went a little too “crayon happy” with this poor victimized apartment building.

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Buzz Wine Beer Shop Now Open in Downtown LA

Buzz grand opening on Monday, June 27, 2011 in Downtown LA

Buzz Wine Beer Shop will have its grand opening tomorrow (Monday, June 27), located at 5th/Spring in the heart of the Historic Core in Downtown Los Angeles. According to their website, Buzz will carry “4,000 bottles of the World’s most unique red-white-pink-bubbles; 100 bottles of the World’s best beer; 200 types of the top rated beers by the keg; and the best sake and shochu from Japan.”

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More Frequent Gold Line Service Starting Monday, June 27, 2011 (Downtown LA ↔ Pasadena)

Shorter waits at stations along the Gold Line as Metro adds more frequent rush-hour service starting this coming Monday to cater to the growing ridership

Great news for those who commute to Downtown Los Angeles and beyond using the Gold Line. According to The Source Metro (L.A. MTA’s official transit blog), starting Monday, June 27, 2011, more trains will be added to service the growing ridership on the Gold Line, which has seen an 11% ridership increase since last year. “​May [2011] ridership levels on the Metro Gold Line reached 36,623 average weekday boardings, an increase over May 2010 ridership of 32,434.”

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New Blair Middle School Now Completed in Pasadena

The brand new Blair Middle School in Pasadena

The new Blair Middle School, which is actually directly across the street from Blair High School near Glenarm and Marengo in Pasadena, is now completed and will start school in the fall. I first covered the gkkworks-designed school under construction back in May 2010 and it has risen steadily since then. The new ground-up school was funded by Measure TT funds that was passed by Pasadena voters back in 2008 to pay for new schools.

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LAX Getting LA-Based Restaurants in Updated Terminals

Cole's, among other LA-based restaurants, coming to LAX (Photo: LA Times)

Just a few days ago, I wrote about LAX getting a major face-lift by adding a brand new international terminal and an exciting new rail connection coming within the next few years. The good news doesn’t stop there as new LA-based restaurants, like Cole’s and Pinks (LA institutions basically) among many others, have been approved by the LA City Council for the concession contract, according to LA Times Daily Dish.

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New 7-Eleven Opening Soon in Financial District in Downtown LA

A new 7-Eleven convenience store is opening in Downtown LA's Financial District

Thanks to downtown resident Fred Camino for alerting me to the new store signs that just went up this past week for the new urban 7-Eleven that will be opening on 7th Street (between Flower and Figueroa) in the heart of the Financial District in Downtown LA. The newest 7-Eleven will open on the ground floor of the 12-story historic Barker Brothers Furniture Showroom building (from 1923).

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New 3-Story Mixed-Use Project Proposed for Old Pasadena

A new 3-story mixed-use project is proposed for the NW corner of Fair Oaks and Green Street in Old Pasadena (Photo: Gonzalez Goodale Architects)

Could another ugly surface parking lot (aka “deadzone”) bite the dust in Old Pasadena? That’s the question for a parking lot on the NW corner of Fair Oaks and Green St with a possible affirmative answer if a new 3-story mixed-use project gets approved and financing is secured. According to Pasadena Senior Planner, Mark Odell, the Design Commission will hold a public hearing on this project next week on Monday, June 27, 2011.

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Construction Update on Civic Center Improvement Project in Pasadena

New brick sidewalks installed on Garfield by the post office

It’s been about 5 months of construction since the Civic Center Improvement Project began in Pasadena. Since then, many aesthetic upgrades–new brick sidewalks and new landscaping for example–have been implemented that have really made a dramatic difference in both the way the Civic Center looks and how it will interact with the surrounding neighborhoods as it pertains to pedestrians. I am very excited to see how all these improvements will turn out after they are all completed sometime later this summer.

Check out some of the improvements below.

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Construction Update on LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal Expansion

Construction continues on LAX Bradley West expansion with completion set for 2013

LAX acts like the main gateway for millions of people who fly into Los Angeles annually. For the 6th busiest airport in the entire world (yes, out of thousands of airports in the world, we are #6), it’s a common sentiment among Angelenos that a lot more could be done to our airport to live up to its “world class” stature. That’s why I am extremely excited that LAX is getting a much needed makeover that will help keep airlines and businesses here in LA.

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USC Students and Faculty Will Benefit from Expo Line

A USC shuttle bus arrives at Union Station. The Expo Line (arriving November 2011) will provide another option for USC students and faculty to get to campus

Last week at Union Station, catching FlyAway to LAX on my way to New York for a week-long vacation (I try to get my “New York fix” once or twice a year), I saw a long line of USC students and faculty members waiting to board a USC shuttle bus. The process seemed so slow and almost archaic since anyone who has traveled outside of LA knows full well that convenient rail connections are becoming the standard in modern cities across the world from San Francisco to Shanghai. I thought, “How sad that we are still relying on shuttle buses to get to one of our top universities in LA and within our central urban core.”

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Ideas for Downtown LA: Adding (More) Flowers to the Historic Core in Downtown Los Angeles

Hanging flower baskets and flower beds are now more common in the Historic Core in Downtown LA

It’s the little things that make an area feel like a neighborhood with a sense of community. I took these pictures (more below) of the flowers and other plants that are now seen throughout the Historic Core in Downtown Los Angeles. They’re “just flowers” right? But remember, there was a time when the Historic Core was completely abandoned not too long ago, so I never take for granted these little “upgrades.”

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Make Music Pasadena 2011 Event This Weekend

For more info about the event, please click flier (Photo: Make Music Pasadena)

One of the largest music festivals in LA happens this weekend on Saturday, June 18, 2011 throughout Downtown Pasadena (including Old Pasadena, Civic Center, the Playhouse District, and South Lake Avenue). With over 100 free concerts on six main stages, you’ll be able to enjoy a diverse range of music genres from indie rock to jazz, world music to Latin. The music performances are spread out throughout the entire day starting from 11AM to 11PM. Check out the full line up of artists and their performance locations.

I love outdoor public events like this that bring the community together, out of their cars (i.e., bubbles) and onto the streets…walking!

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Pattern Bar Coming to the Fashion District in Downtown LA

Pattern Bar coming soon to the Fashion District in Downtown LA

A new bar aptly named Pattern Bar is coming to the Fashion District in Downtown LA that is helping to push the momentum south and expand the areas of what is acceptable and viable for Downtown LA development. Pattern Bar, which co-owners Eduardo Castillo and Alejandro Meza “promises to be your neighborhood bar,” is located adjacent to the epicenter of the Fashion District, which is also why the bar’s company logo is a vintage style sewing machine.

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