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Updated: 13 hours 26 min ago

Pasadena’s First Hyatt Hotel Will Finally Celebrate Grand Opening

Fri, 2019-02-15 06:21

It rolled out with a soft opening in the frenzied days of late December just before the last Rose Parade. Now, after catching its breath and getting sorted a bit more, the Hyatt Place Pasadena is ready for its official grand opening.

The hotel will host a couple hundred guests on Wednesday, Feb. 20 for a night of food, drinks, and live entertainment, including a band and DJ and toasting to the city’s first Hyatt-branded hotel.

The Hyatt Place brand is one of many different hotel lines underneath the Hyatt banner. Grand Hyatts are larger, full-service luxury hotels that offer a resort-like experience. Park Hyatts do boutique luxury on a slightly smaller scale, emphasizing dining and wellness services.

The Hyatt Place Pasadena takes a step back and lends itself to business and group travel.

However, the hotel is situated strategically located on the corner of East Green Street and South Los Robles Avenue.

According to Brandon Taba, Hyatt Place Pasadena’s Director of Sales and Marketing, “business has been steady and picking up.” During the weekends, the Hyatt is experiencing more family and leisure travel.

Guests can bring their furry friends, too; the Hyatt welcomes cats and dogs through its doors.

The Hyatt’s Coffee and Cocktails Bar could serve as a prime shipping off point for a night out on the town. The bar is spacious and sparking brand new (as are the rooms). Drop in for a Moscow Mule, then catch a flick at the ArcLight, for example.

Hyatt’s Breakfast is a continental style buffet and takes place in what looks like a Food Network kitchen. Seriously, it’s beautiful.

The Hyatt offers up great meeting rooms for local groups and events. The hotel maintains 2,800 feet of naturally lit meeting rooms as well as a second-floor patio deck that will be available as a reception space.

The Hyatt has a 24/7 gym, 24/7 business center, and various 24/7 food options, just so you know. If you’re wandering around Old Pasadena in the middle of the night or are up super early in the morning, maybe stop by and grab a bite from the Gallery Market.

The hotel has partnered with a number of organizations including Caltech and East West Bank (whose headquarters is in Pasadena) to offer discounted rates to verifiable members.

The Hyatt Place Pasadena is located at 399 E Green St. Visit or call (626) 788-9108.

Pasadena Homes For Sale in January Jump 43.5 Percent Over Year Ago

Fri, 2019-02-15 06:09

More Pasadena homes came on the market in January compared with a year ago and that could indicate sellers are trying to get a jump on an active spring sales season, according to local Realtors.

The January home sales report by the Pasadena Foothill Association of Realtors indicates an increase in inventory and that may be good for home buyers. Sellers will need patience or consider adjusting their selling price if they want a shorter time on the market, some Realtors say.

According to the report, new January inventory in Pasadena is up 19 percent over last year with 253 homes coming on the market last month compared with 212 homes going up for sale in January of 2018.

Total active listings in Pasadena were up 43.5 percent over last January, with 495 homes for sale compared with 345 for sale during January of 2018.

Check out the Pasadena Foothill Association of Realtors report here


“The numbers indicate to me that people are putting their houses on the market earlier and getting a jump on spring,” said Pasadena Realtor Darrell Done in accounting for the increase in inventory. “3.2 months of inventory is low and last year’s 2.3 months was historically low.”

The average listing price in Pasadena is $1.8 million compared with last year’s $1.7 million, an increase of 3.3 percent. But more telling, Realtors say, is the median home price which this January gained 4.8 percent at $1.1 million compared with last year’s $1.05 million.

The median price of a home is the price whereby an equal number of homes are priced higher and an equal number of homes are priced lower. Realtors use this number as a guide rather than the average home price because particularly in Pasadena zip codes, there is a wide range of home values, from $800,000 and on up to $4 and $5 million.

Is the new report a reflection of national trends?

“Yes and no,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of research at the National Association of Realtors. “The yes part is that inventories are rising, so the early part of last year 2018 we had an acute shortage of inventory and then about the second half of year both in Pasadena as well as the rest of the country we saw a steady buildup of inventory. With more inventory showing up in the market, giving consumers more options, consumers are ready to step back into the market.”

Yun added: “One additional catalyst is that mortgage rate drop towards the latter part of December so the January activity is also being induced by lower mortgage rates.”

Jordan Levine, deputy chief economist for the California Association of Realtors said that the tables have turned for California and it’s a challenging environment for sellers.

“Supply-side problems have become demand side problems,” Levine said. “We’ve gone so many years without enough housing. As a result it pushed the prices up faster than income. Homeowners are pushed out of reach so that’s a demand problem.”

The increase in homes coming to market may also have to do with people wanting to take advantage of Prop 13, Prop 60 and Prop 90 which enable home buyers to relocate but keep their tax base and apply it to their new home.

Levine pointed out that state-wide, sales declined during the second half of 2018, with a 10 percent drop in the last quarter of 2018, a 13 percent decline in November of 2018 over the previous year and an 11 percent decline in December of 2018 compared with the same month in 2017.

“All real estate is local, street by street,” Done said. “When you read the national reports it’s always open to interpretation.”

Done said today’s buyer can afford to be more choosy when selecting the home, whether they are first-time buyers or “Baby Boomers” who may be downsizing.

He said there are some simple reasons homes may not be moving in a surplus market.

“The home may be unrealistically priced,” he said. “Buyers have so much data available to them and they’re very savvy. They know when a house is fairly priced.”


Sanctuary: A Down-Home HIIT

Fri, 2019-02-15 05:37

While it is a HIIT, a popular training technique also tends to come with a corporate branding that Sanctuary Fitness plans to avoid.

Pasadena’s newest group fitness studio offers HIIT, for High Intensity Interval Training, classes taught by personal trainers.

To those that aren’t familiar, HIIT is an exercise concept where one moves from station-to-station at timed intervals. Each station is a different exercise.

The HIIT landscape is characterized by chain outfits such as Barry’s Bootcamp or Orange Theory Fitness.

Zach Golden founded Sanctuary Fitness with an eye to establishing an alternative to the corporate workout space. Golden is cultivating a mom-and-pop, small business approach and corresponding clientele with just one other location besides Pasadena.

Sanctuary is a strength-focused HIIT class as opposed to one focused on the cardiovascular.

“You do have cardio, you just don’t realize it,” said Golden, who explained how the technique uses bodyweight fitness exercises to accelerate heart rate at a much lower-impact alternative.

Each day of the week a different class focuses on a different muscle group.

Mondays are foundation: a core strengthening workout. Tuesdays are anchor: a lower body workout that’ll leave your thighs screaming. The schedule gives your muscles time to rest, theoretically allowing you the ability to attend a class every day without burning out.

Sanctuary imposes a theme onto each month of workouts, too. “January was strength, February was power, March will be endurance,” says Golden.

The number of reps, amount of weight, and interval of time taken between each station are the factors that determine these themes.

For example, let’s say a station is a bicep curl. “Power is going to be a little bit faster, a little bit lighter weight, and you’re probably going to be doing something with that curl where you’re in a different position, where you’re not isolating.

“And then endurance. You’re going to go lightweight, but you’re going to go for time. We’re going to do 30 seconds worth of curls, as many as you can get. So it works the muscle in very different ways,” explained Golden.

The intended result: You’ll never take the same class twice. “Your body is guessing constantly as far as what movements you’re doing so you will not plateau,” said Golden.

Sanctuary’s model is structured around two principles: the first being kaizen; a Japanese lean manufacturing philosophy that stresses the importance of small, daily, continuous improvements.

The workouts become progressively tougher and more complex as the month progresses.

That’s not to say you can’t walk in on the fourth week of the month and have a go. “We coach you, we teach you what to do and it’s all just kind of hidden in the layers of our programming,” said Golden.

Zach tells his instructors: “The focus is not on you, the instructor or the studio or our brand. The focus is on people coming in and meeting their goals and feeling like they have a sanctuary.”

Sanctuary encourages the staff to learn each member’s name and take an active interest in their fitness goals.

Sanctuary’s second guiding principle is balance. First and foremost, the workout itself balances strength training with a high-paced, cardio workout.

Perhaps more importantly, Sanctuary balances tough, physical exertion with monthly social outings and charity work for the community.

The gym features free towel service, free lockers, showers, and Pharmacopia body care amenities. Sanctuary isn’t just an in-and-out yoga studio—it’s where you work out and shower before work, or where you break a sweat before a big night out.

Sanctuary is currently offering a free week of classes to new Pasadena members. for more info.

Sanctuary Fitness is located at 182 South Raymond Ave. Visit or call (626) 345-5162.

Ramen Institution Coming to South Lake Avenue

Tue, 2019-02-12 06:03

An Orange County ramen institution is coming to Pasadena. HiroNori Craft Ramen looks to be setting up shop on S. Lake Ave.

HiroNori’s SoCal locations include Irvine, Long Beach, and most recently San Diego. The ramen concept is the brainchild of Hiromichi Igarashi. The restaurant pairs traditional Japanese ramen flavors with modern concepts.

Portions are generous, and no menu item is more than $15.

Ramens come with either thick or thin noodles, depending on your preference. According to Eater San Diego, HiroNori makes their own noodles in a factory in Los Angeles.

The limited menu features three base ramens to choose from: tonkotsu (a pork-based broth), shoyu (a soy-based broth), or a vegan option (a sesame miso broth).

For example, customers who choose, say, the popular tonkotsu ramen, receive pork belly, green onion, seaweed, and bean sprouts.

Then, a variety of optional toppings await you: quinoa, garlic, egg, and black garlic oil, to name a few.

HiroNori also features a handful of customizable rice bowls: pork, chicken, spicy tuna, and salmon poke.

In addition to rice bowls and ramen, HiroNori serves well known Japanese sides like edamame and crispy rice with spicy tuna. The pork buns and crispy chicken karaage are favorites.

No word yet on when HiroNori Pasadena will be up and running, but we’ll be sure to update you when we hear of anything.

If history is any indication, it shouldn’t be long. HiroNori’s first location opened in Irvine opened in 2017, and they’ve quadrupled in size since.

HiroNori Craft Ramen will reportedly be located at 163 South Lake Avenue. No news yet on opening date.

Pasadena-Based Wescom Partners with Voice Banking Tech Leader

Tue, 2019-02-12 05:49

Pasadena-based Wescom Resources Group has forged a technology sharing partnership with ENACOMM.

In a statement, ENACOMM said the partnership should empower more credit unions to compete with the biggest banks on the consumer-facing technology front.

The partnership would ostensibly integrate ENACOMM’s voice banking technology with WestCom’s Symmetry eBanking solution.

Wescom Resources Group (WRG) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wescom Credit Union that operates as a Credit Union Service Organization.

ENACOMM is a financial technology company that works with banks, credit unions and credit card companies to devise data-driven solutions for improving the customer experience, fighting financial fraud, and increasing operational efficiency.

The company has a virtual personal Assistant that is a conversational voice banking capability for financial institutions’ self-service users that utilizes artificial intelligence and works with popular digital voice assistants, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

Using ENACOMM’s hosted systems, a properly authenticated user can confidently conduct secure banking transactions and gain virtually full access to their financial accounts with the sound of their voice.

Conversational banking significantly reduces operational expenditures by fusing banking intelligence and workflow automation.

“Today’s consumers are increasingly embracing modern technology and their expectations are evolving to include the convenience that comes with these advancements,” said Kevin Sarber, WRG President. “Integrating ENACOMM’s premier conversational voice banking technology with Symmetry eBanking will help our clients stay ahead of the curve and delight their members.”

Recent research by Adobe Analytics shows about 38 percent of consumers owned a smart speaker in August 2018, compared with 28 percent in January 2018, or a 14-percent increase in just a few months.

Voice assistant use is climbing 76 percent, smart speaker owners citing an increase in use over the past year. Seventy-one percent of consumers who own smart speakers reported using them at least daily.

“Conversational engagement is a trend that’s here to stay, and banking will soon play an even greater role, as consumers turn to their go-to devices to manage their finances and complete tasks that require their financial account information—from ordering to buying, paying, and reserving.” said ENACOMM chief executive officer, Michael Boukadakis.

To learn more about WRG and its digital banking and IT service solutions for credit unions, visit