The New Gold Rush: Developers Clustering Around Monrovia’s Gold Line Station

The proposed “West Pomona Transit District.” – Courtesy rendering / City of Monrovia

By Susan Motander

Station Square is not just a transit center; it is becoming a focal point for development in Monrovia. Several projects are in the planning phase and one has already partially opened.

Last Monday MW Investment Group outlined its plans for “Arroyo at Monrovia Station,” a 284-unit mixed-use apartment and retail development. Next Monday the developers of the “West Pomona Transit District,” Fifield Realty Corporation, will roll out its plans for another 310 apartments just across Primrose Avenue from the “Arroyo” project. Both proposed developments stretch from Pomona Avenue on the south to Evergreen Avenue of the north and both are within a block of the Monrovia Gold Line Station.

This is not a new trend. Moda, a development of 261 apartments on the south side of Pomona adjacent to the Gold Line Parking Structure, has completed Phase 1 of its construction and recently began renting those completed apartments. Richmond Residential – another development of 296 apartments, these located on the south side of the Gold Line along Duarte Road – has been approved and construction should begin in mid to late 2019.

Trammel Crow Residential has proposed another project, called “The Alexan Specific Plan.” This 6.77-acre site would contain 436 apartments in a 5-story building with a 797-space, 7-story parking garage on the west side of South Magnolia just south of the freeway.

All this means a potential of 1585 apartments within two blocks of the Gold Line Station. In addition, the city is looking at the potential of developing a 125-room hotel with “enhanced public parking facilities” on what is now the park and ride parking lot.

All these additional people in the community may be startling to some old line Monrovians. City Manager Oliver Chi summed up the situation in one of his weekly City Manager’s Updates writing: “when dealing with policies related to growth, housing, and development, the issues often times end up pitting two sides against one another.

“On the one extreme, there are those who advocate for no-growth … that is, until we have more water, clean air, and no traffic, we should not allow any development whatsoever. And on the other extreme, you have those who advocate for a pure free-market approach … that government should allow developers to build whatever they want, so long as the market will allow for it.”

The city manager wrote that the city has been working for more than 20 years on managing growth in a balanced way. Chi wrote that as all these proposed developments come under review, the city is aware of the community’s concerns about traffic and parking as well as environmental issues, but that it is also aware of the rising housing cost in all of Southern California.

Again in his Update Chi wrote “here at the city, we’ve been working to chart and navigate a course whereby we mitigate the impacts of development, facilitate the construction of additional – appropriate – housing projects, and push for the inclusion of affordable housing every chance that we get.”

He went on to write that the city will engage the community in discussions about all of the proposed developments. Remember only Moda and Richmond Residential have been approved, the others are all still in the entitlement phase.

Do not forget the community outreach meeting next Monday night from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the community room at the Monrovia Public Library, regarding the Fifield Realty development at 123 W. Pomona Ave.

Next Week: Monrovia Weekly will look at the ways the city plans to deal with all this development. It should be noted that there is another development in the works in the Old Town area and a hotel in the pipeline for development at the southwest corner of Myrtle Avenue and Huntington Drive.

December 6, 2018

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Susan Motander

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