Glendale school officials may look into swapping property

About two years after Glendale school officials tried to swap the property where the district's administration center is located with another parcel in Glendale — in a deal that ultimately fell through — school officials may soon look again at exchanging that property.

Officials say Glendale Unified's administration building, located at 223 N. Jackson St., is in need of costly repairs — anywhere from $15 million to $20 million worth of upgrades to its floors, ceilings, electrical panel and roof.


"One of the things we know about buildings — they are not like wine," said Supt. Winfred Roberson Jr. "They don't get better with time."

The administration center also needs at least 100 more parking spaces, said Tony Barrios, executive director of planning, who said employees can be pressed to find parking on residential streets or at a Ralphs parking lot down the street.

Barrios proposed several solutions to the Glendale school board last month — purchase new property, exchange property, renovate the current building or construct a new building and parking structure.

The school board opted to hear more about exchanging the property.

"Why not? If we're going to gain more leverage for our district?" asked school board member Greg Krikorian. "Either that — or we're going to have to eventually address this building."

During a subsequent meeting, the school board hosted one of the district's attorneys — Constance Schwindt — to explain the exchange process.

"It simply involves real property owned by the district that you're exchanging for other property that you want that's owned by a private entity or individual," she told board members.

The board would need to pass a resolution to explore exchanging property, she added.

Some members, including Armina Gharpetian, said they want to issue requests for proposals "to see what's out there," she said. "This location is a gold mine, what we have here. You cannot find a property like this in Glendale in a centralized location."

In 2015, school officials pursued a property exchange, but the deal didn't come to fruition.

In that case, Burbank-based developer Chandler Pratt & Partners approached school officials with interest in the property where the administration building is located.

For a few months, Glendale school officials examined swapping the property for a 3.6-acre commercial site across from Pelanconi Park that included two buildings and a three-story parking structure.

That property was priced at $17.5 million, but the school board ultimately didn't agree to the terms of the exchange, and the reasons why were never made public.

Twitter: @kellymcorrigan