Arcadia continues to attract excellent projects and investment across all sectors. Solid economic growth and opportunity are present across the board within the local economy, and the quality of life in Arcadia remains at an extremely high level, said Jason Kruckeberg, assistant city manager and development services director for Arcadia. Arcadia voters recent approval of Measure A, an increase to the sales tax to keep funding local and assist with public safety and other services, was yet another forward-thinking move by Arcadia’s residents to invest in their own city.
Arcadia’s incredible school district has always been a main driver for quality of life, as has Methodist Hospital, recently ranked in the top 2% of hospitals nationwide. But, more recently, all business districts throughout Arcadia are changing and evolving, bringing excitement and options to all corners of the city. Arcadia has always been fortunate to have a balanced local economy.
City officials from neighboring cities, as well as sales tax experts, often marvel at the fact that Arcadia’s top 25 sales tax producers represent 50% of the city’s annual sales tax. This balance and diversity of the local economy is the envy of many neighboring jurisdictions. Below are some highlights of the various districts throughout Arcadia.
The Metro Gold Line station is making a positive impact throughout the Downtown. As the city strikes a balance between local business needs and commuter traffic, the city’s recent decision to charge for parking is monitored closely for spillover effects. The Gold Line light rail has proven extremely popular for both commuters and recreational users. Its Downtown Arcadia stop is very active, and redevelopment and reinvestment in and around the Gold Line Station remains a hot topic.
A mixed-use project at the corner of Wheeler and First Avenue is slated to open in 2019 and will bring 38 residential units and over 16,000 square feet of new commercial space to Downtown Arcadia. New food and beverage businesses are also coming to the area; recent additions include Mt. Lowe Brewing Company, Vendome Wine and Spirits, Chengdu Impression Restaurant and Shabu Lin. In the planning stages are several major additional mixed-use projects that will bring more residents, and more activity, to Downtown.
“In close partnership with the Downtown Arcadia Improvement Association, the city has set the groundwork for not only new mixed-use development, but also assistance to property owners in changing out businesses and easing the leasing of sites for more active uses,” Kruckeberg said. “Some recent activities and actions include implementing a new business-friendly development code, marketing efforts for the Downtown, up-zoning of the area to allow more intense land uses and a City Center design plan to guide the form of new development so it fits with the historic Downtown.”
Although it is adjacent to the Downtown, a very exciting project that is now under construction is the 227-room Le Meridien Hotel. A high-end Marriott hotel, the Le Meridien will offer a fantastic new hospitality option for Arcadia and the region. Along with the hotel, a 96-unit mixed-use project will also be developed on site, bringing new residences, vitality and economic benefit to the city. This exciting project has broken ground and will be an iconic building at the gateway to the Downtown.
Westfield Santa Anita
Residents should also be very excited about constant improvements at one of the primary economic engines of the city, neighboring Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall. “Westfield is a huge employer for Arcadia, and they too have invested heavily in improvements recently, focusing much of their attention on bringing big name restaurants to their outdoor Promenade and significantly upgrading internal areas of the Center to attract high-level tenants,” Kruckeberg said. One of the most dynamic new additions to Westfield Santa Anita is the opening of Bowlero, a new bowling alley and gaming center that is proving to be very popular.
“As retail development evolves throughout the region, and the nation, in response to online purchasing and e-commerce, we are lucky to be partnering with Westfield as they are committed to ensuring the long-term success of their shopping center,” Kruckeberg said. “By bringing in new, non-traditional uses, it puts the focus on Westfield Santa Anita as a place to be, which is the future of such retail centers.”
Other Commercial Districts
Outside of Downtown Arcadia, Westfield Santa Anita, and of course Santa Anita Park, there are five other commercial districts in Arcadia: the Baldwin Street District, Foothill District, Las Tunas/Live Oak District, Duarte District, and Lower Azusa Road District. Many other outstanding new developments that contribute to making Arcadia a wonderful place have recently been completed or are currently under construction in these areas. Some examples include:
ϒ A mixed-use project on Duarte Road and First Avenue composed of 38 residential units and approximately 16,000 square feet of commercial space. This project is nearly completed and will include an 85 Degree Bakery and additional restaurants and service uses.
- A mixed-use project on Las Tunas Drive and Santa Anita Avenue composed of 78 residential units and 8,500 square feet of commercial space. Currently under construction, this project will bring vitality and investment to this important corner of the city.
- A new two-story commercial building on Baldwin Avenue housing a mix of retail and commercial uses, an Aldi market and the pending redevelopment of the bowling alley site on Baldwin and Arcadia avenues.
- The Arcadia Logistics Center was recently built out. This outstanding redevelopment project on an 80-acre former landfill site in the southeast corner of the city includes a Fed-Ex distribution facility and two other large-scale industrial/assembly uses. It represents a major success story in the reuse of land, as this property had formerly been a quarry and then an inert-debris landfill site.
- Reuse of buildings within the Highlander Center on Foothill Avenue. Tenant changes and vacancies have changed this center dramatically. The city has worked closely with building owners to get vital uses in this important center.
“The city is proud of winning the 2017 ‘Eddy’ Award for Most Business Friendly City in Los Angeles County. Since the award was presented, the city has continued its efforts toward making Arcadia a great place to operate a business,” Kruckeberg said.
“Currently, the city’s attention is focused on a number of fronts. First, there is our new business assistance/ombudsman program for businesses, which we instituted last year. A member of the city staff is charged with helping individual business people by answering questions and walking them through business expansions and other changes they wish to make,” he added.
“In addition, we have partnered with the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce and the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership to make visits to existing businesses. These are essentially meet-and-greets. We ask them what they need, what their concerns are, if they need to expand soon, etc. Our goal is to start a conversation and get the business people comfortable with working with the city.
“Internally, we have also revamped our zoning and land use regulations so we can be nimble and better able to respond to changes as they happen. Our updated codes are certainly more streamlined and user-friendly,” Kruckeberg said.
“We understand there has been substantial retail retraction everywhere since the recession, so we need to be able to react to those market changes. We need to be able to allow former retail areas to revitalize themselves and, in some cases, that will involve transitioning those areas to a different land use and bringing residential properties (and the consumers who will live in them) closer to commercial properties,” he said.