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Bank restoration unveiled — 90-year-old building celebrated

PASADENA - After a nine-month renovation, developers, architects, residents and city officials gathered Wednesday night at the Citizens Business Bank building in downtown Pasadena to celebrate the building's second life with a grand lighting ceremony.

About 100 guests gathered around the 90-year-old building at 225 East Colorado Blvd. Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard activated the new lighting system, which is designed to showcase the refurbished structure. The building's exterior architectural details have been repaired, and the metal panels of the building were cleaned to reveal the original ornate engraving. Workers also cleaned the interior marble and wood decorations, and installed modern plumbing and new electrical wiring.

"We paid attention to its historical accuracy," said Michael Barker, managing director of Los Angeles-based Barker Pacific Group, the real estate development firm that handled the project. "We are willing to bring money to the historical building to restore its quality and values."

The 55,000-square-foot, seven-story building was built in 1915 as one of several early banks in Pasadena. After that, more commercial companies set up around the area, and the city's Civic Center moved east to where the bank building is located. "It is part of the Civic Center financial historical district," said Sue Mossman, executive director of Pasadena Heritage.

Having been in use for business offices for 90 years, the building currently is fully leased, with about 15 businesses. Forty percent of the space is leased by Citizens Business Bank, which formerly owned the building. Barker Pacific Group purchased the building in September and began a renovation effort soon afterward at the advice of Pasadena Heritage.

"It benefits both the businesses inside and the streets and Civic Center district," said Mossman. "It becomes more beautiful and should inspire more people to invest in old buildings."

Montrose-based Interscape Construction was commissioned as the renovation contractor, and Pasadena-based Onyx Architects served as design consultant and is credited for the lighting system design.

Barker said he is confident in the investment and hopes to retain the building for a long time. Barker Pacific Group also owns three other historical buildings in Southern California, including the Fine Arts Building in Los Angeles.

Mabel Zhang can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2703, or by e-mail at

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