Mixed use in San Gabriel

I've got a bachelor's degree in economics, which may help explain why I am sometimes conflicted over matters of property and development rights, and when people want something for "nothing." That's why I was not very emphathetic with the folks out in Mount Washington who want to "save" the Southwest Museum by making someone else (the Autry National Center) pay to keep open a museum that the neighbors aren't willing to support with their own pocketbooks. The "supporters" of the museum say they love their museum, and have created a narrative of the evil cowboy museum coming to pirate away their museum's treasures. They neglect to note that "their" museum was broke and literally falling apart, and the treasures were being destroyed by neglect and the elements.

It's also why when I read about folks trying to "save" the Mission District, my initial inclination is to ask, "What are you trying to save?"

This article talks about the Mission District being "sleepy." That's another word for "dead."

It shouldn't have to be. It's San Gabriel's equivalent (some might even argue, "superior to") Monrovia or Pasadena's Old Town neighborhoods. It has a natural focus (The Mission) and various traffic calming measures have been taken to make the area walkable.

The one thing it is missing is people to do the walking. So the businesses in the Mission District always seem to be closed or closing, and the only people on foot are brides, grooms, and quincenaera parties, posing for photos in front of the historic mission.

I suspect some amount of mixed use development is going to be part of that solution. That's how you help build the critical mass necessary to support the retail in the Mission District. On the other hand, you don't want the reason for the District's existence (The Mission) to be overshadowed by developments across the street.

So I'm not saying, "Let them build what ever they want." I am simply thinking the current Mission Specific Plan does not seem to provide a viable business model. Folks in San Gabriel ought to be open to the possibility of the sorts of change necessary to really make the Mission District something worth coming to, and not just for a photo shoot.

The SGV and LA County are

The SGV and LA County are having a real renaissance of urban spaces. San Gabriel can look at these other areas, and learn from experience, and develop a business district that will work for them.

The area is fortunate to be relatively affluent, so they can choose what they want to do.

Maybe they can subsidize Babita moving in there for a while! That tiny restaurant is not just expensive - it has a great reputation among foodies. See Yelp.

The area is fortunate to have a lot of good restaurants. People drive in from far away to eat here. Not just Chinese food either - the Hat, Petrillo's, Shakas, Bollini's, Noodle Planet. Yelp's been good to the area.

OK, so I've been reading more

OK, so I've been reading more about this.

Has there been a lot of community discussion about it? It seems like a pretty big expansion, and they are asking for a variance. That's a problem right there, given its proximity to an important historical building.

Also, I don't like the idea of a hotel.

Better retail, even condos, seem reasonable, but just the word "hotel" makes me go "hmmm."

That's all I'm saying.

Hotels make their "real"

Hotels make their "real" money by hosting wedding receptions, conferences, etc. Given all the brides and grooms that pose for pictures at the Mission, I'm sure the demand for a wedding banquet facility within walking distance of the Mission would be a big hit.

Conference attendees would leave the hotel and shop in the adjoining Mission District. I assume that's the plan. It's another way to increase foot traffic and give an area a vibrant, energized, happening location.

The height could make the thing problematic. I have not looked at the specifics of the plan and don't know if I would actually support it. It's just my suspicion that the plan is probably better than its critics claim.