Montrose plan trimmed back

A scaled-down version of a work plan for the Montrose Shopping Park was endorsed by the Glendale City Council at a special meeting Tuesday.

The plan, developed by city staff from development services, planning and public works, is intended to continue the ongoing effort to make Montrose an economically strong part of the city’s future as an “old town” type destination location for visitors.

The work plan as outlined could have a price tag of more than half a million dollars over the next ten years, but council members were quick to point out there is no budget or money source for high ticket items and should be considered a “wish list” at this point.

Among the items discussed was a proposal to hire a retail consultant at $40,000 to $60,000 to do a market analysis to assist local businesses. The majority of council members generally had no interest in this, though Councilman Bob Yousefian supported the idea.

A proposal to spend more than $400,000 for facade improvements over the next ten years received support in principle, though a funding source would need to be found.

Council members did support an estimated $5,000 to study a shuttle option for the area, either as part of the Beeline or on its own, though funding would be needed.

The city will also launch a study to create a special sign district for the area which could allow blade signs, animated and other special signage to attract customers.

“Basically, we looked at a variety of items to pursue, including a special sign designation program and a trolley or shuttle,” Mayor John Drayman said. “Hopefully future funding will be found.”

Drayman outlined a concept for a regional line that could hook into Sparr Heights and provide access to Descanso Gardens and Verdugo Hills Hospital. The planning effort will be part of the city’s ongoing mobility study.

The city will continue ongoing efforts to recruit a “significant anchor” for the west end of the shopping park, to be built on the former site of Paradise Ford.

The idea has been high on the hoped-for projects for at least 15 years. Most of the interest has centered on a Trader Joe’s or a similar specialty food retailer, to help bring traffic to the west end of the shopping park.

“We are actively speaking with more than one potential anchor for that space,” confirmed Drayman.

Leslie Sauer of Aqua Artists, a pool service company located adjacent to the Paradise lot, questioned the need for such a store and said she was concerned over possible loss of parking. Drayman said any development would continue parking use at the site, which was originally acquired to add parking to the area.

Councilman Ara Najarian said any changes in the area would need to be carefully studied to prevent heating up property values and losing the mom and pop mix of businesses. Drayman said he believed the declining economy has taken the upward pressure off rental rates and property values.

The council members were careful to say they are not looking for a major sales tax increase in the area, though development director Phil Lanzafame reminded them that the 200-plus businesses do employ about a thousand people in full or part-time jobs and have a major impact on the local economy.


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