Pasadena’s Tallest Abandoned Building Could Soon Come Crashing Down

PASADENA’S TALLEST ABANDONED BUILDING COULD SOON COME CRASHING DOWN A fitting symbol of Space Age industry and finance” — that’s how highly one First Pasadena State Bank brochure spoke of the firm’s new 12-story headquarters on Southmore Ave. after its construction in 1962. (Other local institutions agreed: for a while, its likeness showed up on Pasadena school report cards, reported Lisa Gray) Now, with the bank and all subsequent tenants long gone, the City of Pasadena is insisting in a lawsuit that the building’s owner tear the place down, or reimburse the city for doing so itself, reports the Chronicle. More than 10 year’s worth of code violations testify to the MacKie & Kamrath–designed structure’s unsoundness, claims the city. And a pile of citations issued over a slightly shorter period adds up to more than $65,000 (which officials seek to supplement with $1,000 per day as long as the building’s still standing in its current state). Inside the 2-story lobby, a fountain surrounded by curved glass walls has run dry. But on the outside, it’s still the tallest vacant building in town. [Houston Chronicle; more info] Photo of 1001 East Southmore Ave.: Patrick Feller [license]

14 Comment

  • What a bummer. So many memories of this building being the focal point of town. Whether hitting up the post office behind it or going to the mall – when it actually used to be full and busy.
    Whenever I hear people moaning about development I always reflect on how terrible it is to live in the absence of re-development. Keep fighting Pasadena, Houston owes you.

  • Demolition seems like a crazy idea. The city should instead seize the building because of unpaid fines and then auction it off to a new owner. The sale would come with the condition that the new owner would have to rehab the building within a certain time frame.

  • Can Houston start doing the same thing to that Fisher thing on Yale? Is there some monster lawsuit going on with it?

  • I bet its loaded with asbestos.

  • @Anonymous: The city can’t make this building valuable. If someone wanted to rehab it they could just buy it. It only adds $100 to the property value.

  • These comments are crazy. Its an outdated 12 story building. Tear it down.

  • To pile on the fines, the City of Pasadena recently has positioned a police car next to the building 24/7 (I guess that builds the case for $1,000 a day).

    Which brings up the more important question: where were the police during the last 10 years of vandalism? It’s within walking distance from the police station! They let it happen.

    Tearing it down is short-sighted. The building became a symbol for the city, because it’s a place that needed one. Restoring it would create a centerpiece for redevelopment. There’s federal and state funding to support rehab. Certainly a 15-story building could be re-purposed for something useful?

    Tearing it down will provide another vacant parking lot or another pad site for a new Wendy’s. They’ve got a surplus of both of those right now.

  • @anonymous: I understand where you’re coming from, but the reality is that there is no economic use of this building by the private sector at the present time. Pasadena, particularly its northern side, doesn’t have enough office-using tenants who could pay the rents needed to justify purchase and rehab by a private developer.

  • Too bad the city couldn’t use it for themselves. I worked out there in 2005 and that building was in rough shape then. Can only imagine what another 13 years has done.

  • I look forward to the 2021 Swamplot post about Randall Davis’ Arrabella on the West Loop being fined and demolished. No work on that pile of glass and sheetrock since winter…

  • This was such a magnificent building back in the day. I was a retail manager at the adjacent mall back in the 80’s and would make daily deposits there. It was a very impressive piece of architecture. A damn shame it has come to this.

  • How many of you put bubbles in the water fountain out front?

  • Chemical Citys Finest!

  • Say what you want about Pasadena but at least Pasadena has urban development and sidewalks. Not lame ditches and no sidewalks like the heights.