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Pasadena Economic Impact Report: Commercial Office Properties
By: Paul Little

Pasadena Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Little presented the final draft of “The Case for Commercial Real Estate: Office, Building a Strong Economic Future for Pasadena” to the Pasadena City Council during public comment at the council’s regular meeting on Monday February 23, 2009. The report, which was researched, debated and developed using real world experiences, up to date research, and methodologies, represents the culmination of ten months of work on the part of Chamber staff and the working group. “When we began discussions, it seemed important make the case for commercial office space as an important facet of Pasadena’s economic foundation,, particularly within the context of the upcoming revision to the city’s General Plan,” Little said.

The report discusses some of the challenges facing those professionals working in the commercial real estate business. In addition to identifying some challenges to working in Pasadena, the report explains how those challenges can be overcome.
The Case for Commercial Real Estate: Office” also presents detailed information on the income and economic activity generated within the City of Pasadena by four different sized office developments, as well as economic impacts regionally.  “This report represents and indepth analysis of the economic impacts of commercial office space in Pasadena,” according to Little. “Over ten months of meetings and discussions, the representatives working in the commercial office business identified four broad areas of concern and have proposed realistic and accomplishable solutions they hope the City Council will consider.”

Case studies presented in the report detail the economic impact of commercial office buildings of four sizes: 75,000 square feet, 100,000 square feet, 250,000 square feet and 450,000 square feet. Each case study points our buildings in Pasadena of that square footage.  “We thought it was important for the report to have a real-world, Pasadena context. By using case studies of particular sized buildings and then pointing out local examples of developments of that size, we hoped the discussions and inquiries that result will be based on real experiences here in Pasadena,” Little said. We chose the size we did because 75,000 square feet is a relatively small development, 250,000 square feet is an average size development and 450,000 square feet is about the largest that could reasonably be proposed for Pasadena given the land, cost, zoning and market constraints that exist locally. 100,000 square feet was chosen because those figures can be easily
extrapolated to buildings of pretty much any size that might be proposed.”

“The report it not intended to argue that the entire Pasadena economy should be built around commercial office developments,” Little said.  “Everyone involved in drafting the report understands the important relationship that exists between a diverse and healthy economy in Pasadena and livable neighborhoods. Many of the collaborators working on the report live right here in Pasadena and experience the same traffic conditions, rely on the same City services, and want Pasadena’s neighborhoods and commercial sectors to thrive together,” Little said. “Pasadena’s General Plan provides protections for residential neighborhoods, and no one is proposing to change that or lessen any of those protection. What we recognize is that Pasadena thrives on a vibrant economy and that commercial office represents a healthy, predictable and important revenue stream that the City can count on to fund vital and important services to both business and residential Pasadena.”

For more information on this report visit: Pasadena Economic Impact Report: Commercial Office Properties

Paul Little,
Chamber of
and CEO