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Moule & Polyzoides's New Designs For Pas's Playhouse Plaza

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Images courtesy Moule & Polyzoides

It's a NIMBY win-win in the Pasadena Playhouse Historic District, where a post-lawsuit version of the Playhouse Plaza commercial project planned for Colorado Blvd. and El Molino Ave. seems to have fans on all sides. Back in 2009, developer IDS Development Group had plans for a Gensler-designed project that included only one five-story, 160,000 square foot office building and 11,000 square feet of open space. A group called Pasadenans for a Livable City, along with Pasdena Heritage, thought the project was too tall, would create too much traffic, etc., according to a Pasadena Weekly story from 2010, and they filed suit claiming that "the City Council flouted the city’s planning rules and state environmental laws in its approval of the IDS Playhouse Plaza project." A judge agreed and the case was settled in March with an agreement requiring "a design architect for the new project with 'expertise in historic district compatibility'," according to the Pasadena Star-News.

Now Pasdena-based Moule & Polyzoides have been brought on as design architects (Gensler still serves as executive architect) and their "dramatic revisions" are garnering that highest praise: "expectations of a smooth passage through the planning process." M&P split the project up into three buildings totaling 145,428 square feet, including 137,000 square feet of office and 8,000 square feet of restaurant and retail. According to the PSN, "the building facing El Molino Avenue will go from three to one story in height; and two public courtyards with 'a visual connection' to the historic Pasadena Playhouse and a pedestrian crossing area are now included."

A city council discussion a couple week's ago was a "love fest," and the plans now go to the Design Commission on December 12.
· Playhouse Plaza's second appearance garners applause [PSN]
· Playhouse Plaza [Moule & Polyzoides]