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WASHINGTON (February 8, 2012) – The potential of the Rose Bowl and Central Arroyo as a community amenity and economic development catalyst could be greatly enhanced with the creation of a conservancy to manage the site, coordinate activities and financial resources, and increase investment, according to widely renowned land use experts from the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
The ULI representatives, convened as part of ULI’s all-volunteer advisory services program, visited Pasadena, Calif., last week to examine the Rose Bowl and the Central Arroyo area to provide recommendations and alternatives for redevelopment that will complement the stadium renovations that are currently underway. The advisory services panel, sponsored by the City of Pasadena, consisted primarily of ULI Foundation governors, an exclusive group of the organization’s membership united in their commitment to ensure a strong future for ULI by supporting its program of work. The ULI Foundation, the philanthropic arm of ULI, funded the panel.
The group of experts was assembled to assess the Rose Bowl environs and provide the city of Pasadena with strategic advice on how to re-envision and reuse the space in and around the Rose Bowl. The panel was asked to consider and evaluate how the city can create additional revenue streams by transforming the environs into an iconic public and recreational open space that is integrated into the fabric of the existing neighborhood.
Following a tour of the area, comprehensive background briefings, and meetings with numerous stakeholders, the panel found Arroyo Seco Park and the Rose Bowl to be showing strains of underinvestment and poorly coordinated management. The panel concluded that the most productive strategy for reviving the Central Arroyo area would be to establish a not-for-profit, professionally staffed conservancy to perform operational planning and management services. The group based its recommendation on the success of the Central Park Conservancy in New York City. Founded in 1980 and operating under a formal management agreement with the city since 1998, the Central Park Conservancy has overseen the investment of more than $600 million into Central Park.
A similar conservancy operating structure for Central Arroyo would “create a singular focus for the park’s management, a clearinghouse for consistent policy and bottom line financial responsibility,” said panel chairman Richard L. Perlmutter, principal and co-founder of Argo Development Company in Rockville, Md. The conservancy, the panel recommended, should be controlled by a board with representatives from the city council, mayor’s office, city departments and other community participants.
To strengthen the conservancy’s ability to succeed, the panel made several additional recommendations regarding the use of the site, including:
- Creating a marketing program for the Rose Bowl to include guided tours, private events and a retail facility to market memorabilia
- Implementing a tiered-pricing system for parking in Arroyo Seco for residents and visitors
- Expanding the limited-service capability of the current park’s clubhouse to a visitors center providing a range of services, including retail and dining, and
- Converting a portion of the Arroyo Seco’s concrete channel into a natural stream bed, and converting some of the paved and grass parking lots into reinforced turf multi-purpose sports fields
“With appropriate governance and capital investment, the panel believes the Arroyo Seco and Rose Bowl could exceed the high expectations of the city of Pasadena, its users, and surrounding residential neighbors,” Perlmutter said.
Now in its 65th year, the ULI advisory services panel program assembles experts in the fields of real estate and land use planning to participate on panels worldwide, offering recommendations for complex planning and development projects, programs and policies. Panels have developed more than 600 studies for a broad range of land uses, ranging from retail and entertainment development to military base reuse.
The panel of ULI governors advising Pasadena elevated the already substantial level of expertise available through the advisory services program. “ULI governors are some of the most experienced practitioners in the world of real estate and land use,” said Thomas Eitler, vice president of ULI’s advisory services program. “It was an incredible opportunity to have access to their thoughts and wisdom on a site as steeped in tradition and historically significant as the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.”
In addition to panel chairman Perlmutter, other panel members were Susan Hudson Wilson, retired founder of Property & Portfolio Research, Inc., and current board member of Hawkeye Partners LP in Chebeague Island, Maine; Richard Rosan, president of the ULI Foundation, and former chief executive officer of ULI Worldwide; and Frank Stanek, president, Stanek Global Advisors in Arroyo Seco, Calif., and a former key executive with Vivendi-Universal Entertainment and the Walt Disney Company. Ryan Bouma, senior associate with AECOM in Alexandria, Va., assisted the panel.
About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute (www.uli.org) is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.