Plaza Las Fuentes, Pasadena's slow-moving $65-million redevelopment project, received some sharp criticism from the Board of City Directors this week. The strongest objections came from director Rick Cole, who said during Monday's board meeting that the planned 6.8-acre development "launches us on a major project on land we don't own . . . putting at risk the the general fund of this city."
Plans for the project include a 10-story luxury hotel, retail shops, restaurants and office space to be built in two phases beginning next year. The plaza, beset by problems including last year's failure to secure federal funds to help finance the project, would be built near City Hall. Under the present plan, Pasadena will acquire the land, through purchase and possibly eminent domain, for the project's developer, Maguire/Thomas Pasadena Center Ltd. The city would also issue $15 million in bonds to pay for the land and to build a parking structure.
"As I see it today, I think that this is a project out of scale, out of place, and out of balance for where this community is today," Cole said. Directors also expressed concern that the project violated the 86-foot height limit of the Urban Design Plan adopted last year by the board. As planned, the hotel would be 130 feet high, and the office building 105 feet.