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Rose Parade Corner to Become Hotel Site

February 05, 1989|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

One of the world's most famous intersections, the one where television crews televise Pasadena's Tournament of Roses Parade, will be developed into a $200-million hotel project, buyers of the property said last week.

Luke Lucas, vice president of acquisitions for Ramser Development, announced in mid-January that Ramser is buying 2.85 acres at the southeast corner of Orange Grove and Colorado boulevards from Pasadena Elks Lodge 672 for $11 million.

He said last week that the project will include a full-service luxury hotel with at least 300 rooms, renting in the $125-$185-a-night range; complementary commercial space, possibly some small offices and underground parking.

"It probably won't be a convention hotel, though it will have some ballroom facilities," he added.

Used as Parking Lot

The project will be compatible with the adjacent Elks building, Lucas said.

The site being purchased has been used as a parking lot for the Elks, who expect to use some of the sale proceeds to replace or rehabilitate their 1911-vintage building.

Al Badger, the lodge's exalted ruler, said last week, "So far, we're talking about rehabbing, but that's entirely up to the brothers, who own the building." The lodge has about 1,400 members, and each owns a percentage of the lodge's real estate.

In view of escalating real estate prices, the land being sold has been described as "too expensive" for the Elks to continue to use as a parking lot.

The property, including the Elks building, occupies the 3.64-acre block bounded by Green and Terrace streets and Colorado and Orange Grove boulevards.

The city owns a sliver of the block at Orange Grove and Colorado and a small island in the intersection, which has caused some problems with floats negotiating the curve, said Lucas, but he anticipates that Ramser will take over the city-owned pieces and improve them while the hotel is being built.

Escrow is due to close in April, 1990, but even after that, said Lucas, "New construction will take TV coverage into consideration and won't inhibit the parade."

Under terms of the sale proposal, the Elks and Ramser will continue to receive income by renting TV and seating rights at the intersection during Tournament of Roses parades.

"All the prize seats are on that corner," Lucas said. "It's where the TV cameras sit." The site is across the street from the Norton Simon Museum.

Voted in January

Ramser and attorney James Blackstock of the Los Angeles law firm of Sullivan, Workman & Dee negotiated the sale with the Pasadena Elks Lodge, which approved the deal by a two-thirds vote in January before forwarding the proposal to the Chicago-based Grand Lodge, national governing body of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

"I don't see any problems," Badger, of the local lodge, said about getting the national body's go-ahead. "It's just a matter of getting the proper paper work."

With paper work in hand, Ramser will meet with city officials to discuss the development and consider any concerns of neighboring property owners, Lucas said.

"The only serious discussions we've had so far have been with Hyatt and J.W. Marriott people," he added. "We might do the development, and one of them might bring in the operator." He said the hotel will have "a suite setting, something like the Marriott in Century City."

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