Council approves $2.5 million loan to Pasadena Center Operating Company – Pasadena Now

The Pasadena Center Operating Company will receive a $2.5 million loan from the city to fund capital improvement projects. The PCOC operates the Pasadena Civic Auditorium and the Convention Center.

The 10-year loan will be used for PCOC’s future capital improvement needs, which will be repaid from PCOC’s operating revenues.

Projects include civic auditorium waterproofing and painting, interior painting, and other needs as they arise.

“The PCOC has secured loans over the years to fund major Capital Improvement Projects (CIPs). The current CIP for the Pasadena Civic Auditorium was approved by the City Council in the fiscal year 2020 budget,” said Mike Ross. “Due to COVID and the resulting lack of funds, the project has been put on hold. The scope of the project includes the restoration of the facade, roof and plaza of the 91-year-old Civic Auditorium. Due to the historic significance of the Civic Auditorium, the project will follow National Park Service, Secretary of the Interior standards for treatment of historic properties. Work completed to date includes research, fieldwork, technical specifications, documentation and coordination, with project management to follow. Application documents have been prepared and are awaiting approval from the City of Pasadena – Department of Historic Preservation.

Pasadena Heritage also urged the city council to approve the loan.

“Pasadena Heritage urges the City of Pasadena to approve the loan to fund the PCOC’s proposed restoration work for the Historic Civic Auditorium,” Sue Mossman, executive director of Pasadena Heritage wrote in a letter to the board. This work delayed by the pandemic must be undertaken as soon as possible in order to avoid more serious damage.

The Civic Auditorium will be 91 years old in 2023 and needs many upgrades, PCOC officials said. The item was approved by the PCOC board on June 16.

In 1999, the city provided the PCOC with a 10-year, $1.4 million loan for the renovation of the conference center. The loan was fully repaid in 2019. Similarly, in 2009 and during the construction of the convention center, PCOC entered into a $3 million loan agreement with the California Energy Commission to upgrade the HVAC system which has allowed the new center to obtain LEED Gold certification.

As the cost of the project has increased and the scope has expanded, the PCOC Board of Directors is requesting the loan with interest fixed by the city to finance a major capital improvement project of a historic asset of the city.

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