Saturday, June 12, 2010

Final Touches...

I couldn't resist a sneak peak of the gloriously restored (and newly dubbed) Comerica bank building. The columns have been painstakingly recreated! The rosettes are back! That man in the picture painted a gold numbers on the window and stained the trim a deep cherrywood brown!

I can say without qualification, even though I know nothing about the interest rates or corporate policies, that I love Comerica Bank. Any company willing to put this kind of care (not to mention capital) into refurbishing one of South Pasadena's historic buildings -- and during a major economic crisis, no less -- is a company I want to do business with.

When I moved to South Pasadena a few years ago, this structure was hidden under a campy aqua exterior. I liked it. It was retro and odd. But I had no idea what it concealed. When the 60s facade came down and the original 1920s building was revealed the entire community took a collective gasp. A hidden treasure had been unearthed! And here it is, almost finished, after months of loving care and thoughtful restoration. Okay, so I'm not crazy about the blue sign but I can overlook it. It's the least I can do after how much Comerica Bank has invested in South Pasadena.

I will post again when the project is complete, and I promise to have more information about the history of the building.

UPDATE: Check out the fabulous old picture of the original building here, at Mister Earl's Musings.

24 comments:

dbdubya said...

Everyone should transfer their accounts to this branch of Comerica Bank as soon as it opens and let them know the reason why. They've made a huge investment in the community and should be rewarded for it.

Judy Williams said...

The juxtaposition between the modern letters and the carefully restored facade is interesting.

Kudos to the restoration experts for putting it back to its former glory.

Mister Earl said...

They're having their grand opening soon. The manager will look and talk like Jimmy Stewart and they'll have a big basket of money that everyone can just come in and grab a handful. It's going to be a Wonderful Life in South Pasadena from now on!

altadenahiker said...

I wonder how they knew there was still a building underneath big blue.

Mister Earl said...

I'll send you the reason, KB.

WV: ungumb. What they had to do to remove the aqua tiles from the building!

Laurie said...

More reasons to love COmerica... I was looking into its history and the company has been honored with a slew of awards for things like diversity in hiring, green disclosures and performance, best practices in human resources. THey've also been repeatedly names as one of the best places to work in IT. Who knew?

Laurie said...

Click here to learn more about Comerica Bank's community reinvestment strategies. I really like this place.

Mister Earl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mister Earl said...

Laurie: I posted the original 1920 photo along with the same shot taken this morning to my blog, with a link to yours.

Mister Earl's Musings

TheChieftess said...

Now that's a bank to do business with!!! I wonder if they have a branch in Mammoth???

ben wideman said...

Totally agree. I was baffled that the blue retro look was being dismantled, only to discover the brilliance that lies beneath!

Not to be a downer or anything, but I wonder if they are using bailout money to do this project? Maybe they are one of the large banks that didn't receive any of those finances.

Mister Earl said...

Don't know if they have a branch in Mammoth, but they do have their name on the baseball stadium in Detroit, where the Tigers play!

Laurie said...

Interesting point, Ben. Here's what I found out...

Comerica DID take 2.25 BILLION in bailout money. A lot of extremely negative press followed - easily google-able. But the big news recently is that the bank paid back all of the loan and exited the bailout program as of March, 2010. Here is an article from Dallas Morning News.

TheChieftess said...

Another plus for the bank!!!

Shanna said...

I remember driving past when the old building began to be clearly visible. I wondered why I had never seen it before.

pasadenapio said...

It's great that they're such a good community partner -- enough so to put this kind of effort and funding into the building.

Mister Earl said...

Maybe we can get them to restore the Rialto!

Virginia said...

Well that could have been scheduled to happen when I was there. DAMN!
V

Laurie said...

Thanks, you guys!

Trish said...

Not to be a skeptic...but...I would ask the question---do they actually OWN the building? Did Comerica actually invest in it, or was it the building's owner instead, leasing to the bank?

And, being small town---was it a planning commission/aesthetics/quake retrofit requirement to build it out? If so, am surprised the city allowed the stupid signage (yes, you have my opinion on the sign). Then again, considering the aqua atrocity that was there for so long, I suppose a minor dorky sign isn't so bad?

I love the upgrade, as well as all the old photos. I do wish more buildings would go more retro!

Mister Earl said...
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Neil McCauley said...

Hey does anyone remember this?

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/125/342254452_25f851853a.jpg?v=0

Neil McCauley said...

Hard to find a good pic of this
http://www.jasonbentley.org/blog/uploaded_images/fairoaksteenwolf-710884.png
warit

Laurie said...

Hi Neil. Welcome! If you go to google maps street view you can see a great image of the old tile building. At least, until they update it. You can save a screen shot of it but I haven't figured out how to save a google street image another way.