A massive $30-million mixed-use project stretching across a 1.3-acre site in downtown Glendale featuring 5,000 square feet of restaurant space, nine live-work units and 219 apartments has been approved by the City Council.
The project, known as the Campus, would help spur night life on Brand Boulevard in the commercial area, which tends to close down after business hours, council members said. At its maximum height, the multi-building project would be eight stories tall on Orange Street and step down to one story on Brand Boulevard.
"I think it will be a drawing card," Councilman Dave Weaver said. "We have nothing up in that neck of the woods that pulls people in."
According to the city's zoning rules approved in 2007 to lure development to downtown, the developer, Amidi Group, could have at least 18 stories on the site and, with incentives, 25 stories.
Councilwoman Laura Friedman reiterated that the council could vote only on the building's design and could not limit its density because of city codes. She added that she was pleased Amidi Group was voluntarily building a smaller project and not adding a skyscraper to the block.
"I think the design is a nice design for what it is," she said.
Glendale's downtown is experiencing the largest building boom in years with more than 3,800 units either recently completed, under construction or in the entitlement process, and all the new construction has prompted an anti-development sentiment among many residents fearful of traffic effects.
Councilman Ara Najarian voted against the project because he believes the city should slow down development downtown. He was the sole dissenter in last week's vote.
The project consists of a series of terracing buildings, includes open-space plazas and pedestrian connections, and incorporates decorative, sliding-glass doors on balconies facing the courtyards.
Currently, the proposed site, which runs from 409 to 411 N. Brand Blvd., consists of an existing restaurant, Gaucho's Village, and office buildings on Brand Boulevard as well as an existing parking structure on the southeast corner of Orange and Milford streets, which would not be replaced.