A proposed transportation center to be built around the historic Southern Pacific Railroad depot in Glendale could cost more than $33 million, according to a draft preliminary report presented Tuesday to the City Council.
Despite projected costs that have quadrupled from original estimates two years ago, council members unofficially endorsed the ambitious plan to build a transportation hub that would provide parking for 1,500 cars and link commuters with trains, a light rail system, shuttle buses and van pools.
The city in late 1989 bought the 66-year-old train station at 400 W. Cerritos Ave. for $3.5 million. It plans to convert the depot into a transit hub with a multilevel parking garage, passenger arcades and an elevated walkway to rail platforms.
The Spanish-Colonial Revival architecture of the depot would be preserved and a circular entry plaza with landscaping and a focal sculpture would be built, according to plans presented by a team of consultants during a council study session.
The project would be built in two phases, the first to be completed by 1994 at a cost of $21.4 million. The second phase, with expanded parking facilities and such amenities as a dry cleaner and day-care center, could cost another $12.2 million by the time it is completed in the year 2000, said Jonathan C. Stevens of Stevens/Garland Associates Inc. of Orange.
Glendale officials originally estimated that the center would cost $7 million, but they revised that to $18 million earlier this year. The increased cost is due largely to an expanded multilevel garage between Gardena Avenue and the railroad tracks from Central Avenue to the depot.
The first phase would provide 750 parking spaces plus covered bus bays, passenger arcades and the walkway to rail platforms. Parking would be expanded to 1,500 spaces in the second phase.
Glendale is seeking to build a light-rail system that would run parallel to the existing Southern Pacific railroad tracks. The light-rail system would provide commuter service to and from Los Angeles and the Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena Airport.
The existing tracks, now used by Amtrak, also are to be used for commuter rail service to and from Los Angeles and the Santa Clarita and Ventura County areas, possibly beginning as early as next fall, officials said.
Some council members suggested that even the latest proposal is too conservative. “Transportation and parking are the most important issues in the city,” Councilman Larry Zarian said. He proposed that the transit center in the south Glendale area could serve as the hub for private parking structures for future office development in the downtown redevelopment zone.
Councilman Carl Raggio proposed that the transit area also provide parking and shuttle services to the Burbank airport and auto storage space for overcrowded car dealers along South Brand Boulevard.
City Manager David Ramsay said most of the money for the project will come from the city’s share of state transportation proposition money and federal allotments. Preliminary proposals are expected to be brought before the council within a few weeks.