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$45-Million Hotel and Retail Complex Is Set for Pasadena

Development: The project marks the continuing revival of the city's South Lake Avenue shopping and dining district.


Joining the parade of new development in one of Pasadena's most popular shopping and dining districts, a Los Angeles developer said it will build a $45-million hotel and retail complex on South Lake Avenue.

The Pasadena Collection--which will include a 200-room Renaissance hotel and 40,000 square feet of upscale retail and restaurant space--marks the continued revival of Lake Avenue as one of the city's most prominent shopping districts.

The Champion Development Group project is only two blocks from where a movie theater and shopping complex will be built around the former Bullock's (now Macy's) department store.

"The Pasadena Collection . . . will certainly be a catalyst for the renaissance of South Lake as a fashionable downtown business district," said Sybil Stevenson, president of the South Lake Business Assn.

It was only three years ago that another Champion project on South Lake--the Ross Dress for Less store--triggered a furor among residents. Many in the area feared a major discount clothing store would drag down the South Lake district, which has been staging a slow and uneven recovery in recent years after stores and consumers fled for nearby shopping centers and malls.

This time around, the developer created a citizens committee to review and approve plans as well as the architect, said Robert Champion. The company initially wanted to build a project for a single retail tenant, but it changed its plans to include a hotel and a smaller amount of retail space after meeting with residents.

"The citizens committee picked the architects and picked the design and approved the [hotel] use," Champion said.

In contrast to the controversy set off by the development next to the Macy's department store, the Pasadena Collection has met with a minimum of opposition.

City Councilman Sid Tyler said Champion's collaborative approach has made a difference as the project has made its way through city and public reviews.

The plans need to go before the city's design review committee for final approval.

"The public will not be as surprised by the design . . . as they were with the Ross Dress for Less," Tyler said. "It was a positive thing for [Champion] to do."

Under Champion's plan, the Pasadena Collection will rise six stories above the site of a former bank building at the northwest corner of Lake and Cordova Street. Champion said he intends to start construction on the 200,000-square-foot project early next year and open by September 2000.

A preliminary agreement has been reached with Marriott International Inc. to open a Renaissance hotel on the site, Champion said.

Marriott also plans to open a Courtyard by Marriott with about 300 rooms near Old Town Pasadena.

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