Council examines Alhambra Place proposal

Concept drawing of Alhambra Place design from Shea Properties | Screenshot from the Alhambra City Council video1Concept drawing of Alhambra Place design from Shea Properties | Screenshot from the Alhambra City Council video

Shea Properties presented to City Council Monday its latest plan to develop Alhambra Place, the former site of the Mervyn’s department store on the corner of Main Street and Garfield Avenue.

An aerial view of Alhambra Place | Photos by Alfred Dicioco

The developer's proposal is a mixed-use project with 260 units of apartments, including a clubhouse, gym, pool, and spa. The design also includes a commercial space for restaurants and shops and a four-story parking structure. Shea Properties has not disclosed the names of interested retailers.

Greg Anderson, senior vice president at Shea Properties, stated Monday that the apartments are geared toward a young market with spending power. “The market is young, up-and-coming professionals that are looking for high-quality living, highly amenitized, secure environments with really great amenity packages,” Anderson said.

Shea Properties is in the process of purchasing Alhambra Place from the previous owner, according to Director of Development Services and Assistant City Manager Tara Schultz. The final design plan must be approved by the Planning Commission and Design Review Board before being finalized by City Council. If the plans are approved, Shea Properties may be able to close escrow by midsummer and start construction, Schultz said.

Council members said they were cautious about rushing into a design plan for the sake of getting the project started. Councilman Steven Placido had questions about the quality of the residences and encouraged council members and city staff to take their time examining every detail of the plan.

Elizabeth Cobb, vice president of development for Shea Properties, addresses City Council. | Photo by Alfred Dicioco

“This is the centerpiece in town. This is the project that everyone is waiting to see and the city is not going to take any shortcuts to push this through," Placido said. "We have a process. This takes time and we should work with the city to make sure that everything’s done in a judicious way."

Mayor Stephen Sham was concerned that retail businesses leasing the space would not be there long term. “My personal feeling is, we want to have good, sustainable tenants. Meaning I don’t want them to come in, two years, they’re out," Sham said, adding that the developers need to consider Alhambra's diverse population and invite businesses the residents need.

Weren't able to attend the meeting? You can watch it here. City Council usually meets every second and fourth Monday of the month on the second floor of City Hall: 111 S. First St., Alhambra, Calif., 91801. The next regular meeting will be on March 10 at 5:30 and 7 p.m.


About the author: Alfred Dicioco

Alfred is a community contributor for Alhambra Source. He was part of the Reporter Corps youth journalism fellowship. His stories are also published on Rappler and the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He graduated with a degree in Theatre and Film from USC. Follow him on Twitter: @freddieknows


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No, blame South Pasadena for the 710 not happening. They're the ones who've blocked it from the beginning. They're the ones to blame for the traffic problems in Alhambra. The city is doing the right things, supporting the completion of the 710 and developing a better downtown, one that's long overdue. Five years with an undeveloped corner at your geographic center of town is long enough.

OH NO! MORE DEVELOPMENT, MORE APARTMENTS/CONDOS THAT MOST OF US CAN'T AFFORD!MORE TRAFFIC! Is it any wonder South Pasadena blames Alhambra for the traffic mess; seems our city fathers continue adding to the traffic mess, since the completion of the 710 freeway will never happen. Are there any potential candidates for city council out there who can bring stability to this over-building of Alhambra; if so, count on my vote.

add open space like a park, farmer's market, reduce the number of units better yet no more apartments/condos etc. Streets are too crowded as is.

Indeed! I would rather see the whole block torn down and turned into a park than having another multi-use building erected there.

I am really sick of this new trend of residences/retail spaces. How much more can we take? Alhambra is already at the critical mass stage for traffic and adding more apartments will only make it more difficult for current residents to get around. Alhambra is losing its beauty and charm as a "bedroom community". We are becoming just another in a long line of cookie cutter cities. Very sad.

The concept drawing looks like the Century BMW building on Main and Atlantic.

I advise the council members to go and visit The Grove in LA and Americana At Brand in Glendale before signing off on this. This will help to give them more ideas on such a critical location that should serve as more than just apartments and some stores.

The Grove incorporates itself into the Farmers Market which I found to be quite nice for example.

where well the farmer's market go? I know they're already being moved...

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