What would you like to see in the Alhambra Place Plaza?

Alhambra Place has been mostly empty since Mervyn's closed in 2009. The city has been in talks with various buyers, according to City Manager Julio Fuentes. But without access to Redevelopment Agency funds it's having difficulties bridging the gap between what the owner is asking for the properties and what developers are willing to pay for a mixed-use project.

We would like to hear from Alhambra residents about what type of businesses they would like to see open at the site.

What type of businesses should open at Alhambra Plaza? Choose all that apply.

22 thoughts on “What would you like to see in the Alhambra Place Plaza?”

  1. @Charles
    Nothing can surpass the splendor and awesome grandeur of the Alhambra Arch at Freemont and Valley – not even the orginal Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Who would have thought that something so flimsy and cardboard looking would pass the test of time. Another arch? No thank you.

    Review of Arch LA Cubed
    http://la.curbed.com/archives/2010/06/alhambra_gateway.php

  2. I think they should put an 800ft. tall “Gateway Arc” constructed out of hand-carved limestone, granite and marble blocks, something massive….something that can been seen not only from Alhambra…but for miles throughout the entire San Gabriel Valley.

  3. En mi opinion es una tristeza que una zona tan bonita, este casi vacia,es un desperdicio a nivel economico ya que la ubicacion es perfecta para cualquier negocio, ademas el lugar se presta para caminar con la familia y mas que nada es la imagen de nuestra ciudad. Yo no puedo creer que las personas encargadas de ver que nuestra ciudad cresca no se hallan preocupado por darle una solucion a este asunto.

  4. This particular property may be the most critical development in Alhambra’s future.

    I suggest you look to the mixed-use property that is a part of or next to the Glendale Galleria. It has shopping, restaurants like Cheesecake Factory, condos and a central open area for people to mingle, eat etc. I think it also has a central fountain. I believe it is called Americana At Brand. I think The Grove is a similar concept.

    I am against an actual park being installed here, but I guess a “park like setting” would describe what I suggested without actually being a “park”. I agree that the buildings should all front main street, but use the central open area as I described above if possible.

    For parking, I believe there is already a public parking structure on 1st street.

  5. @ A Friend,

    “Downtown Alhambra is ugly and already a dead zone particular east of Garfield”

    I don’t think downtown Alhambra is ugly and as far as the eastside of Garfield is concerned, I do somewhat agree with you. I have written to the mayor about this previously and was told that the emphasis for now is WEST of Garfield, within the West Main St. Corridor. This location has been in planning for years. You can learn more about it on the link below:

    http://www.cityofalhambra.org/government/development_services/economic/M

    This is where the concentration of businesses are. In the future, we should have no doubt that as our economic base expands, more development will continue on eastward on Main St. With the economy still down, it’s obvious businesses aren’t just going to sprout up everywhere to fill in the gaps. Development takes time, entails careful market analysis, and many are NOT SHOVEL-READY.

    I agree with Joseph and Larry, that this is one of the most critical areas for a new project and quality should be the end goal for this specific location. Also important – no more surface-level parking. Historically, this intersection was the sight of the Alhambra Hotel and Jones Building, structures that stood much taller and gave more depth than the ones we see today. It would be nice to give substance to this area once again…

  6. The Alhambra Place is a golden opportunity for the city and the owner to make a shopping, living and pedestrian area that would anchor the downtown strip. This would require that the city elevate their standards and not just allow the developer to cram as many units into the mix as has been done on more recent developments on Main St. ( City Venture project at former library site). Having an open area for a “park” like setting and underground parking would be a great start in the planning. Barcelona and many other innovative cities have figured this out a long time ago and there is no reason that Alhambra cannot get out of the bland and over-developed rut that has been the signature style of past mix use projects. It might take some time to find just the right developer to do this, but having a quality project should be the end goal.

  7. The Ross accross the street is pretty small compared to some other Ross, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls stores that I have visited. It would be nice to have a bigger discount retailer in Alhambra.

    It would also be nice to have an Alhambra mall, something like what Arcadia and Montebello have.

    Oh, and the underground Gold Line extenstion from East LA through Alhambra to Pasadena mentioned by a previous post should come up Atlantic to Main and then stop at Garfield and Main before continuing North to Pasadena.

  8. Downtown Alhambra is ugly and already a dead zone particular east of Garfield. Go a couple of blocks west of Garfield and things look newer, but not better. The developers may be making money, but the people of Alhambra are getting visually poorer.

  9. @John: I disagree with your assertion that a park would create an economic dead-zone. Done well, a park would serve as a central gathering point for the community and, combined with pedestrian/bike-friendly upgrades to Main Street could serve as an anchor and economic driver for the Main Street corridor. A park combined with a pedestrian corridor would create one large outdoor space that would encourage people to come, linger, shop, and eat.

    I’d like to see a plaza-style development that has mixed use buildings on two or three sides surrounding a park. The first floor businesses would have flexible outdoor space to use. For example, a cafe or restaurant could use that space for outdoor seating. The park could be used for public events, the farmers market, rented kiosk spaces, and as a general gathering place for the community. It would need trees (I recommend oaks), pathways (perhaps an X shape), and pleasant lighting.

    A central courtyard surrounded by a mixed use development would not integrate with the rest of Main Street in the way that an park opening up to Main Street would.

    1. @ Dan Bednarski,

      Thanks for sharing your opinion. I would like to add that the zoning near this area already has high-density and that creating another park would underutilize Alhambra’s housing needs capacity, particulary in the near future. Mixed-use, in my opinion, would be the best way to go. It allows housing development without further encroachment on R1 tracts (a big issue here in Alhambra), provides anchor customers to nearby businesses, allows more diverse business opportunities, and promotes walkability (alleviates short-trips consumated by cars). This supports SB 375 guidelines and again, in my opinion, good planning for Alhambra’s long-term needs. Also not sure, but what would the parking requirements be for a park? Any surface-level parking lot would take away more areas for a park. I’m happy already with the numerous parks we have now.

      I think you miscontrued my word of “central”. I wasn’t specific as to say that a central courtyard would be bounded by all four sides. My main issue was to keep business frontage up close on Main St. but not necessarily preclude any access to a central courtyard. Even if it was bounded on all four sides, I would still look at the developer’s renderings to see what accessibility features would be incorporated into the actual design. I would also like to add that I have traveled to many countries around the world (and I’m sure you have been overseas) and some of the best places to hang out/relax weren’t always those visibly-open to everyone.

  10. We had Independent stores there already, I was born in Alhambra and have seen this look for too long, just like up the street near fourth and -sixth street, that looks and works good, with all the happenings on main street now, more apartments and stores would definitely work

    I Truly think the Alhambra Mayor and council members deserve an award for what they have done over the years to Alhambra- Thank you

  11. Let’s be real – Alhambra citizens don’t have much of a choice.

    They will take who they can get.

    That being said, a big national chain is probably the best thing for the city.

  12. @ A Friend,

    Disagree. This area needs further development and it’s the lack of density and diversity (of needs) that’s causing many stores to lose business here.

    Placing a park here will create an economic dead-zone that will break-up the continuity along Main St.

    So you say there’s enough mixed-use already? So should we say that we have had enough of our housing needs as well? If you care to even bother reading the Design Review Board and Planning Committee Agendas once in a while, you will see that people are always requesting to expand their homes/businesses or start a new project. And that’s for a reason, the need is there…

  13. With the CRA guy, the crooked realtors need to parachute back to reality and stop relying on public coffers to profit from their investments. Drop the rent, build out the useless parking and maybe we’ll have an actual palatable boba tea shop again. There are tons of single use plazas coming up in San Gabriel, there’s no reason why this can’t be resuscitated.

  14. Anything but Mixed-use development (Retail and housing). Please, Alhambra is NOT in ASIA. We have way too many asian style retail/housing on main street!

    1. @Len

      It’s hard to tell if you’re just trolling or you unfortunately have never seen or read about other cities in the US (like Los Angeles, 8 miles away) that have
      mixed-use developments.

      That being said, I do wish the developments have some coherency in the way they look. With designs that look like someone just clicked a bunch of things together from a software catalog, and then painted with garish schemes, they don’t quite seem to fit in. Take the bank on Garfield/Valley: I don’t know what to make of it, other than wonder who in their right minds chose that color scheme. If they wanted it to stand out, they succeeded, but they also succeeded in making it an eyesore.

    2. @Len: Mixed-use is a traditional American property use. Most Main Streets in America – including Alhambra – were traditionally mixed-use in one way or another. Many storefronts had living quarters, often occupied by the proprietors upstairs, as well as some office space. Look at Old Town Pasadena for another local example. You’ll also see mixed-use throughout Europe where it is the primary land-use in most cities.

      Aside from the business names/signs, are there any particular projects you find look more Asian than others on Main Street?

  15. And while I can still dream, a below-grade LRT that connects the Gold Line from Atlantic (in East LA) to Pasadena with a stop on Main/Garfield would be nice.

  16. We have enough mixed-use buildings along Main St now. Knock down the buildings, tear up the concrete, and put in a park including a dog area. Make space for the citizens of Alhambra. We have enough space for businesses already.

  17. In my opinion there should be a large mixed-use development at this location. Not only will it promote more pedestrians on Main St., but allow ample room for our housing supply to increase without invading other lower-density areas. Anything else will be space underutilized considering future growth and economic viability of the surrounding areas. Subterranean parking is also a key component: the surface-level parking lot currently there is a huge waste of underutilized space. I understand funding is an issue, but the city should not rush into putting just anything there.

    The other options the Alhambra Source lists mainly reflect SINGLE-USE land zoning. This not only promotes more segregated spatial arrangements of primary and secondary uses (where we work, live, shop, etc.), but increases traffic and congestion.

  18. No particular retail preference, but I wish they would be able to incorporate some type of public green/park space that as a whole, would strongly encourage pedestrian traffic. It may be also worthwhile to move the current farmer’s market to this space and make it more accessible/visible from Main/Garfield.

    1. @ Robert Kim,

      That’s a good concept and what I was thinking was perhaps a central courtyard plaza of some type (while keeping the larger structures fronting Main St. for easy pedestrian access to first-floor businesses).

      The farmer’s market can definitely improve it’s current location but first all these surface-level parking lots need to go.

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