A three-story, 64-room boutique hotel is likely coming to Glendale’s Riverside Rancho neighborhood, passing the city’s Design Review Board with unanimous support on Thursday, despite some opposition from neighbors.
Located on the northwest corner of South Victory Boulevard and Winchester Avenue, what’s been referred to as the Victory Hotel will occupy most of an approximately 21,647-square-foot lot and will include a two-level subterranean parking garage and second-floor pool deck.
Several conditions were attached to the project at 1633 Victory Blvd., including adding a fence between the hotel and single-family properties to the north, making aesthetic changes to the entryway, as well as possibly widening an alley used by nearby residents abutting the hotel and adding outdoor seating to a cafe in the front.
“We’re talking about minor stuff, but that minor stuff that we’re talking about, I think it’s going to take the design to the next level, and it’s going to take it from a good project to a great project,” said Sevan Benlian, who was elected board chair during the same meeting.
Unless the board’s decision is appealed within 15 days, the project can proceed to the plan-check phase once the outlined conditions are met, according to principal planner Vilia Zemaitaitis. If it’s appealed, it would head to City Council for review.
The project, proposed by Jayesh Kumar, does not require variances or further discretionary review or hearings, Zemaitaitis said. Kumar has two years to secure permits for the project before the board’s approval expires, she added.
When the project came before the Design Review Board on June 14, it was unanimously rejected.
Board members, at the time, requested that Kumar and architect Nikhil Kamat, a principal at nKLOSURES Inc., completely redesign the building’s facades and employ a more restrained color palette; redesign the pool area to limit noise impacts and enhance visual privacy for neighbors to the north; and create a denser landscaped area at the property line to the north. For the most part, the four board members on Thursday agreed those conditions had been addressed in the new plans.
Some residents living near the project, including Phillip Marks, disagreed with the reasoning, arguing the hotel still posed privacy risks to his family and would compound congestion at nearby Benjamin Franklin Elementary School. He described the project as “monolithic and intrusive.”
Board member Art Simonian acknowledged that Marks would be impacted but said there’s an implicit risk to buying a residential property next to a commercially zoned lot.
“I always try to mitigate those impacts but not prevent a use because it’s next to a residential property,” Simonian said. “We don’t even have the power to say ‘no’ [to a by-right use], so we look at design, access, orientation.”
Agreeing with Simonian that the board’s function is primarily to address design issues, board member Alen Malenkian said he thought that aspect needed “a little bit of tweaking and improvement.”