22-Story Office Tower Plan Wins Preliminary Approval

Times Staff Writer

The Glendale Redevelopment Agency Tuesday granted preliminary approval for a 22-story office tower to be built at 500 N. Brand Blvd., a site that has been vacant for seven years.

City officials said construction could begin in June, with completion expected by mid-1990. The $75-million project will add 425,000 square feet of new office and retail space in the downtown financial district.

With Councilman Larry Zarian absent, the four other council members, who serve as the agency, voted 4 to 0 to approve the development concept proposed by the Howard-Platz Group of Glendale. The structure will include partially subterranean space for more than 1,200 vehicles.

The rose-colored, granite-clad building will feature a raised plaza with fountains that will serve as an open area between the proposed building and a 21-story tower at 550 N. Brand, finished last year. The project will complete the redevelopment of the block on the east side of Brand between Milford and Doran streets.

The tower will present a cylindrical facade at the corner of Milford and Brand, architect Robert Nasraway told agency members Tuesday. Redevelopment Director Susan Shick called the design "stunning, elegant and very fitting to the nature of Brand Boulevard."

No major tenant has been secured for the building, but Shick said developers are prepared to begin construction without one.

The site was developed into a temporary park several years ago after residents and merchants complained that the vacant lot was an eyesore. The park also has been used for the annual Christmas canned goods drive sponsored by the Glendale Board of Realtors. Michael Howard of the Howard-Platz Group told the agency, "While we have gladly shared this site, we would like it back now."

Construction of a second 22-story office tower, to be built on Brand at Monterey Road north of the Ventura Freeway, also is scheduled to get under way next fall. That building will become the corporate headquarters of the Carnation Co., which plans to move 1,000 employees from the Mid-Wilshire location it has occupied since 1949.

The two proposed towers will become the tallest in the city. The Carnation project will be the largest, with 525,000 square feet. Together, the towers will add almost 1 million square feet of office space to the downtown, which now has 3.2 million square feet.

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