Arcadia, California

May 30, 2024

Arcadia, California

A Hidden Gem in the Heart of Southern California

 

With a warm climate and a warm welcome, what’s not to like

Arcadia is known for its beautiful neighborhoods, warm community atmosphere, and a vibrant economy.

Arcadia has fervently embraced its rich tradition, as reflected in the prominence of the Arcadia Unified School District, the provision of top-tier medical services, and the diverse array of recreational amenities catering to residents of all ages.

Arcadia’s origin story

Step back in time to 1903, when Elias ‘Lucky’ Baldwin, a visionary gambler and prominent real estate magnate, laid the foundation for Arcadia’s growth. Acquiring extensive parcels of land, Baldwin’s ambitious aspirations gradually materialized, shaping the trajectory of Arcadia’s evolution from its inception to its status as a thriving municipality in Los Angeles County.

Following his passing in 1908, his daughter, Anita Baldwin, took the reins of his legacy. Through strategic land sales and development during the 1930s and 40s, Anita propelled Arcadia into a new era as the city grew exponentially.

Arcadia’s equestrian heritage is evident in its celebrated racetrack, originally constructed by Lucky Baldwin in the early 1900s. While the original track succumbed to fire, Anita Baldwin’s subsequent Art Deco-style racetrack, built in the 1930s, remains a cherished landmark. It is one of only four racetracks left on the West Coast today and is home to renowned events.

Residential mixed-use spaces

Arcadia’s appeal lies in its excellent schools and desirable residential environment, attracting families and developers alike. In 2024, Arcadia Unified School District was named the #1 best school district in the entire Los Angeles Area, #4 School District across California, and in the top 40 nationwide by Niche.

The revitalization of the train station into a modern light-rail line has spurred more development and rejuvenation through Arcadia’s downtown. The increased accessibility to major destinations has transformed the surrounding area into a highly desirable location for developers and individuals seeking a small community lifestyle with easy access to urban amenities.

Mayor April Verlato

“We are seeing high development interest in repurposing our commercial areas into residential mixed-use spaces,” Mayor April Verlato explains. “It’s maximizing a prime location by transforming former office or business spaces into mixed-use areas where people can live, work, and socialize seamlessly.”

Looking towards the future, Arcadia sees exciting new developments in its downtown district.

The Derby Mixed-Use Project is set to transform 2.23 acres by constructing a 6-story building featuring 214 units, including 9 affordable units for seniors. In addition to modern residential amenities like a rooftop pool and community spaces, the development will revamp the century-old Derby Restaurant and introduce a new café, honoring its legacy.

Meanwhile, construction is underway for the Alexan Azalea Project, which proposes a 7-story residential building with 319 units, including 26 affordable ones. This project will feature a pedestrian paseo with connections to the Foothill Gold Line Station and downtown Arcadia.

Lastly, the Huntington Village Mixed-Use Project envisions 237 units with 26 affordable spaces, totaling 263 residential units comprising various housing types. Alongside landscaped courtyards, pool areas, and fitness facilities, this project aims to foster a vibrant community with amenities like pocket parks, co-working spaces, and a clubhouse.

Acknowledging the need for housing, Mayor Verlato affirms Arcadia’s commitment to preserving the character of single-family neighborhoods while highlighting multifamily housing options to accommodate its growing population.

“We enjoy robust development here in Arcadia,” said Mayor Verlato. “We can preserve our single-family residential zones while balancing the addition of new housing, much of which is multifamily, denser, and compact.”

Blending History and Modernity

Within just 11 square miles, Arcadia epitomizes a fascinating blend of history and modernity.

“It is a place where the old and new come together” exclaims Mayor Verlato. “Whether exploring historic sites or enjoying modern attractions, Arcadia offers experiences for all to explore.”

Santa Anita Park debuted on Christmas Day in 1934 and has since become a renowned venue, hosting prestigious events such as the 1984 Summer Olympics and the Santa Anita Derby. Over the years, Santa Anita Park has been the host of the Breeders’ Cup eleven times, starting in 1986 and most recently in 2023, drawing in over 80,000 people to Arcadia.

Marrying the old with the new, just a short distance away lies Arcadia’s Baldwin District, a culinary haven where foodies can savor gourmet and authentic Asian cuisine. This neighborhood is home to Michelin Guide restaurants and unique meals with decades-old family recipes.

Innovation thrives at one of the most esteemed healthcare institutions in Los Angeles County: USC Arcadia Hospital, renowned locally and nationally as one of America’s Best Hospitals. In 2023, USC Arcadia Hospital was recognized for its commitment to clinical excellence, compassionate care, and positive economic impact on the community, and it secured its place on Becker’s Hospital Review’s “Great Community Hospitals List.” Arcadia frequently collaborates with USC Arcadia Hospital on initiatives to enhance residents’ health and well-being. With the presence of USC Arcadia Hospital-Keck Medicine and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Specialty Care Center, Arcadia is fortunate to have healthcare institutions of such high caliber, contributing to the city’s thriving landscape.

 

Breeders Cup

Business growth and development

Arcadia is home to the Shops at Santa Anita, a high-end regional mall that serves as an anchor for Arcadia’s commercial activity. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the mall continues to expand, showcasing resilience and adaptability. Of particular interest is the recent addition of a specialty grocery store, 99 Ranch Market, which has introduced unique product lines, positioning itself as a flagship destination within the retail landscape.

“Arcadia is seeing an interesting change in mall or retail life,” Mayor Verlato remarks. “Trends show it’s moving more towards mixed-use, even within a traditional commercial space like a mall.”

Arcadia stands out with its diverse mix of entertainment and retail offerings, making it an attractive destination for business growth. Demonstrating commitment to small businesses, Arcadia allocated $1 million towards supporting the vitality of local businesses during a challenging post-pandemic era. This investment was divided between two key initiatives: the Small Business Grant Program and the Permit Assistance Program. With $750,000 allocated to the Small Business Grant Program, small businesses received assistance in enhancing their physical spaces and upgrading signage, lighting, and furniture. Through the Permit Assistance Program, $250,000 supported local business expansions and new ventures by covering application and permit fees.

The Chamber of Commerce’s role in promoting business growth and collaboration within Arcadia stands out. Initiatives like Prosper and Connect, a Chamber network conducted entirely in Mandarin, showcase Arcadia’s support of its diverse business community, fostering networking opportunities and connection. This inclusive approach to business development mirrors Arcadia’s commitment to creating an environment where businesses of all sizes and backgrounds can flourish.

Experiences and Community Engagement

Beyond its commercial offerings, Arcadia boasts a lively community life enriched by various events and activities. Mayor Verlato highlighted the contributions of the city’s Recreation and Community Services Department, which organizes numerous resources and events for residents.

Arcadia’s downtown area, facilitated by the Downtown Arcadia Improvement Association, is a focal point for large-scale community events. Mayor Verlato outlines three signature events that draw residents and visitors: the Patriotic Festival with fireworks, the Halloween Haunting for trick-or-treating, and the Holiday Fair. The city recently introduced a Moon Festival and Lunar New Year festival, reflecting Arcadia’s growing Asian population and its commitment to celebrating cultural diversity.

“The Lunar New Year festival is likely to become a new tradition in Arcadia,” Mayor Verlato states. “It helps share important cultural traditions with others throughout the San Gabriel Valley.”

Pathways to progress and success

As we look ahead, Arcadia’s future is undeniably promising.

Captivating those in search of hidden gems, Arcadia now shines brightly on the map for those seeking unforgettable experiences. Visitors are welcomed by the four-star hotel Le Méridien, offering luxurious accommodations with breathtaking views of the foothills. Further elevating the city’s luxury offerings, Hilton Hotel is set to introduce two new hotel projects in Arcadia. Scheduled to open in 2025, visitors can anticipate a five-story hotel featuring banquet spaces, meeting rooms, and a rooftop bar, all conveniently located adjacent to the Racetrack.

While Arcadia continues to evolve, it delicately preserves its charm. For the first time, Arcadia’s City Council is majority female and majority Asian, reflecting a historic shift in the City’s representation in elected office. This milestone underscores Arcadia’s commitment to inclusivity and representation, setting a promising tone for its future trajectory.

With a steadfast dedication to progress and community well-being, Arcadia is well-positioned to thrive as an attractive and dynamic destination for residents and businesses in the years to come.

AT A GLANCE

Arcadia, California

What:  Arcadia boasts diverse commercial and residential mixed-use spaces, complemented by outstanding healthcare facilities and a renowned school district.

Where: Arcadia, situated in Los Angeles County, California, rests approximately 13 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles within the San Gabriel Valley at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Website: ArcadiaCA.gov

PREFERRED VENDORS

Santa Anita Park – santaanita.com

Since opening on Christmas Day in 1934, Santa Anita Park has been an iconic venue for world-class Thoroughbred horse racing, hosting the prestigious Breeders’ Cup event a record 11 times in its 40-year existence.  Its well-cared for grounds and stunning backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains make it a truly unique setting for a day at the races.

In addition, Santa Anita hosts more than 400 non-racing special events throughout the year in its million-square foot grandstand, from meetings to fundraisers to wedding and much more.

Go to santaanita.com for more information.

USC Arcadia Hospital – https://www.uscarcadiahospital.org/

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