Thursday, March 17, 2016

Signs of the Times

Things are really rocking and rolling around the City of Monrovia these days. Yesterday, the Development Review Committee looked at 10 items, which represents a range of development across the City. But, what really caught our attention is the number of sign reviews that the Committee considered yesterday. We know what you're thinking... "Really? We're supposed to be excited about signs?" And to answer that question, we say, "YES!" because when you consider the companies that were applying for those sign reviews, you can see that a lot of new businesses, some of them VERY well known and successful, are moving into Monrovia. And that is good news.

For example, Orchard Supply Hardware (or OSH, if you prefer) came before the committee with their sign proposal. They are busy at work preparing to open a new hardware store and nursery location at 725 West Huntington Drive. Sign review generally occurs pretty close to the date that operations will commence, so we are quite excited to see OSH at this phase of the planning process. Luckily, the DRC saw fit to approve the OSH signs, so pretty soon, you'll see something like this when you are driving around the neighborhood. Actual weather patterns may vary.

Another sign that caught our attention was for the City of Hope Beckman Research Institute at 655 East Huntington Drive. You may have heard that City of Hope is relocating it's research laboratories to the City of Monrovia. The pending move into the former Xerox building at 1214 South 5th Avenue is expected to bring over 500 jobs into the City and we are thrilled to welcome them into that location. But before that big move, which is anticipated for later this year, a second Beckman Research Institute location in the City's technology corridor will be operational. The DRC approved the signage, so, the next time you are driving down East Huntington Drive, don't be surprised if you see a new monument sign similar to this.

And there's still one more sign that we want to tell you about. It's green and white and promises to draw you in like a siren song. That's right, folks, we're talking about the Starbucks that will be opening at 860 West Foothill Boulevard within the next month or so. The DRC approved all the signage at that location, so, the next time you are in need of a triple grande, nonfat, no whip, extra hot, two pump, white chocolate mocha with a drizzle of caramel, we've got you covered! As you may be able to tell, we are very excited about all of the new businesses that are opening in Monrovia and we hope that you are too!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

All Aboard!!

Monrovia is buzzing about the Gold Line beginning service from Pasadena to Azusa on Saturday, March 5, 2016. That's right, readers! The train is chugging it's way toward Monrovia and the grand opening event will be quite a celebration! Starting at 11:00 a.m. and going until 4:00 p.m. here at Monrovia Station Square, the City will be celebrating with live music, food trucks, and free shuttle service between Station Square and Old Town Monrovia. But, the celebration continues, with events at each new station from Arcadia to downtown Azusa. And get ready to ride the rails because Metro will be offering free rides on the Gold Line all the way to East Los Angeles until midnight!

To gear up for the coming of the train, the City has been paying a lot of attention to the Station Square Transit Village area.  In January, the Station Square Park was dedicated and will be a gathering place for residents and commuters with a new band shell and playground equipment. There are also new, exciting businesses moving into the area, with plans for more to come. Soon Station Square Transit Village will have wineries, breweries and restaurants for everyone to enjoy. The residential apartment complex, “The Parks at Station Square” is also going to be breaking ground soon and will provide over 200 apartments in the area. But all this activity isn’t a coincidence. Every single City department, division, elected official and appointed commissioner over the past decade has contributed to keeping the train on track!

We are excited to see the results of this amazing Citywide effort and honored to have been a part of this process. For example, in 2015, we got to work with the Planning Commission and the City Council as they reviewed and approved an amendment to the guidelines for the Station Square Transit Village area. The new and improved guidelines identified seven neighborhoods and refined the standards for each, yet maintained the overall vision for Station Square Transit Village as a “a dynamic, mixed-use, transit oriented community.” Basically, our logic here was, "trains are cool and people like to be around them!" The map below shows how Station Square Transit Village has been planned. If you'd like more information on each neighborhood, visit or stop by City Hall and talk to a planner.