Business and Industry

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.

Downtown 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.

City Services

Arcadia prides itself on being effective and cost-efficient when it comes to the services provided to its residents. It counts itself among the safest cities, and the city council and staff work hard to maintain the city’s image. Arcadia also boasts that it has more residents who work in computers and math industries than 95 percent of the cities in the entire United States. Overall, the city is extremely diverse, with a wide variety of ethnicities, and 48 percent of the population notes being born outside of the United States.

Volunteerism is a mark of pride for the City of Arcadia, with opportunities in many areas with multiple local organizations. Volunteers lead classes at the local community center, engage with children at the library, and assist at the Chamber’s signature Taste of Arcadia.

Local entities, such as the city, the Chamber and the recreation department each publish various online newspapers and paper booklets, much like this one, that help residents and tourists find the best of Arcadia.

Living in Arcadia

Even during the 2010 recession, when foreclosures were high, new homes were still being built in the City of Arcadia. Property values were on the rise, higher than any other city in Los Angeles County. Most new homes built range from 3,000 to 6,000 square feet, and one is still able to find those in excess of 10,000 square feet. A strong resale value of luxury homes keeps the city growing. Arcadia still sees a demand for new construction, both in homes and in retail facilities.

Official city flower

Official city symbol

Official city tree

Official city motto
Community of Homes

Health Care

Arcadia has the best in medical services through Methodist Hospital of Southern California. The SafeCare Group has named Methodist Hospital in Arcadia among the Top 1% of all hospitals in the country for four consecutive years for patient safety. Hospital services include maternity care, stroke care, orthopedic surgery, heart care, neurosurgery and cancer care as well as an emergency department where more than 50,000 patients are treated each year.


Arcadia also has numerous top-notch senior living and retirement facilities, along with a beautiful community center that plays host to many different classes and activities geared towards the city’s senior residents. Senior Services also organizes full-day trips and other outings offered at affordable prices. Some workshops are even offered for free.

Santa Anita Park

From Seabiscuit and John Henry all the way up to Justify, Santa Anita Park has been home to some of the most legendary horses, jockeys and trainers, and some of the most memorable races in the history of the sport.

The track is also recognized as one of the most majestic in the world. That is why the biggest annual competition between horses from all over the world is so often held at Santa Anita Park. After the first-ever back-to-back Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita in 2008-09, the Breeders’ Cup booked consecutive events again in 2012-14 then returned in 2016 and again in 2019. Arcadia is also recognized as one of the most gracious and supportive host communities for the 100,000-plus spectators who flock to the two-day event for days in advance to enjoy all Arcadia and Southern California have to offer.   

Santa Anita Beyond Breeders’ Cup

Santa Anita Park runs three meets per year from late December to mid-April, from late April to late June, and from late September to early November.

But the venue is open to the public 365 days a year. There is no more spectacular setting than sitting at Clockers’ Corner at the west end of the grandstand in the early morning hours, watching horses working out on the track against the backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains.

On any given day, you may see movie and TV stars, as the track has been host to hundreds of films and series since Charlie Chan and the Marx Brothers filmed movies there in 1936 and 1937 to 2018’s Academy Award-nominated “Vice.”

And, of course, numerous celebrity horses and jockeys are associated with Santa Anita. Among them are Seabiscuit, John Henry, Citation, Spectacular Bid and Zenyatta, plus George “The Iceman” Woolf, Johnny Longden, Willie Shoemaker, Chris McCarron, Laffit Pincay Jr., Gary Stevens and Triple Crown-winning jockeys Victor Espinoza and Mike Smith. Bob Baffert, trainer of American Pharoah and Justify, the last two winners of the Triple Crown, calls Santa Anita Park home.

Santa Anita Park Time Capsule

Dec. 25, 1934: Opened Christmas Day with a crowd of more than 30,000.

1940: Seabiscuit wins his last race, the Santa Anita Handicap, in front of a crowd of 78,000.

1942-1944: Racing was suspended during World War II, when track was initially used for seven months as an assembly center for Japanese Americans, then for two years as Camp Santa Anita – used for an Army ordnance training center and USO shows,
and finally to house German prisoners of
war for a few months.

May 15-July 7, 1945: All-time season attend-ance record average of 35,247 per day that still stands – more than 75,000 on Memorial Day and more than 60,000 on July 4.

Jan. 4, 1946: George Woolf dies the morning after a fall during a race at Santa Anita. 

March 1, 1947: 85,000-plus attendees.

July 29- Aug 12, 1984: Host of Olympics equestrian events; 232,158 people attend; 250 horses represent 31 nations.

March 3, 1985: 85,000-plus attendees.

1986: Hosted First Breeders’ Cup.

2008-2009: First back-to-back Breeders’ Cup host; Zenyatta wins come-from-behind race in 2008, considered one of the most exciting and amazing ever; 75th anniversary ceremony Dec. 26, 2009; statue and historical marker dedicated.

2012-2014: First back-to-back-to-back host of Breeders’ Cup – 90,000 attendees over two days.

2016: The two-day Breeders’ Cup attendance total was 118,574, the highest in Breeders’ Cup history.

2018: Santa Anita trainee Justify wins the Belmont Stakes to secure the Triple Crown.

Firsts at Santa Anita

  • Photo-finish.
  • Public address announcer calling the race.
  • Instant electrical timing flashed at intervals during the race for public viewing.
  • Magnetic control gate for simultaneous release at the start.
  • Only turf course in America with a right-hand and downhill slope.
  • Arcadia also boasts the Thoroughbred Walk of Champions along Huntington Drive, which was spearheaded by the Arcadia Historical Society, a walk much like the Hollywood Walk of Fame but dedicated to the greats of thoroughbred horse racing such as Seabiscuit, Laffit Pincay Jr., Man O’War and Silver Charm.