A 25-story luxury hotel is tentatively planned to rise on a narrow strip of land on the southwest corner of Brand and Glenoaks boulevards in downtown Glendale.
Still in the early planning stages, Glendale City Council members voted last week to give the project abutting the Verdugo Wash the green light to progress to the next design phase.
Development company Kam Sang has proposed a 226-room four- or five-star hotel that will include meeting and office spaces, a grand ballroom, rooftop pool and a pair of restaurants.
It would be constructed next to an existing Hilton hotel that the Arcadia-based developer also owns.
Renderings of the proposed hotel depict a tall, slim structure with a shell made up of abundant blue glass and a red strip running the vertical length of the hotel. A passageway hovers above a section of the Verdugo Wash that cannot be built on.
The developer is in talks with several high-end hoteliers but none have been locked in, according to John Hicks, a project manager with Kam Sang.
Council members expressed excitement about the proposed hotel’s sleek design, as well as the prospect of bringing to the city an internationally renowned brand such as the Waldorf Astoria, Le Meridien or Ritz-Carlton.
“Can you imagine the level of panache that that is going to give our downtown?” Mayor Ara Najarian said during the special meeting on Dec. 10.
But the enthusiasm was tempered by concerns about the traffic and parking problems that such a project could generate in an already congested area.
With a projected capacity of 800 occupants in the new hotel, and 1,000 in the existing Hilton, it could lead to a parking “nightmare,” Councilwoman Paula Devine said.
“It’s not just how the building looks. It’s how it functions,” Devine said of appraising the building’s design. “[It’s] how well everything works in the area, not just for the people who are going to the hotel, but also for the residents.”
Devine’s colleagues agreed those were key issues that needed to be addressed by the developer in the next phase.
According to Hicks, the developer has already contracted with traffic experts to come up with a plan.
A portion of the land the project would occupy is owned by the city and would have to be purchased by the developer, said Jennifer Hiramoto, who is on the city’s economic development team.
The land was supposed to have been sold off after state officials ordered cities to wind down their local redevelopment agencies in 2011 but it was overlooked, she said during a presentation about the project.
Glendale would receive 13.57% of the sale proceeds. The rest would go to other agencies, said Philip Lanzafame, Glendale’s director of community development.
Once the developer completes the design, the project will head to environmental review, Glendale city spokeswoman Eliza Papazian said in an email. City officials anticipate that it will come back to the City Council for further consideration sometime next summer.
Seidman writes for Times Community News.