Projects won't be abandoned

CITY HALL — Two major projects planned for south Glendale are having to navigate the uncertainties of an unstable credit market, but the developers remain committed, officials said.

A six-story commercial office building at Los Feliz Road and Gardena Avenue and a five-story mixed-use residential complex across from Glendale Memorial Hospital on South Central Avenue are poised to significantly alter Glendale’s interface with Atwater Village, but tepid lenders and a frozen credit market have turned planning into a delicate dance, a consultant for the two projects said.

The Redevelopment Agency today is scheduled to review the 2.18-acre mixed-use residential complex — named the Triangle Project for the triangular lot bordered by San Fernando and Los Feliz roads and South Central Avenue — for final approvals.

The project had been in a state of flux until its development firm, Equity Residential, was able to renegotiate the land’s purchase agreement.

Escrow for the block, which includes a Burger King and car wash, will likely close sometime in March, project consultant Rodney Khan said. And if the Redevelopment Agency gives final approval to the 218-unit residential mixed-use project, developers could then fix their attention to shoring up financing.

“It’s very tight. The margins are tight,” Khan said.

At the same time, Avalon Land LLC is reevaluating the feasibility of its planned six-story mixed-use office building at 435 Los Feliz Road, which received Stage I approval in November.

The 175,749-square-foot proposal was to have a mix of general and medical office space with several retail tenants, but given the worsening recession, developers are in the two-month process of reevaluating the project to make sure it “pencils out,” said Khan, who is also helping to shepherd the project through.

“Things are changing daily,” he said. “At some point, it’s a bit of a leap of faith.”

Whenever that leap is taken, the two projects will further transform Glendale’s southwest corner, which is already preparing to receive several affordable housing projects on the southernmost end of San Fernando Road.

“It has the potential to be a major element of that emerging neighborhood,” Development Services Director Philip Lanzafame said.

So far, all 218 units of the Triangle Project are scheduled to be market-rate rentals sitting atop 54,000 square feet of retail space and a three-level subterranean parking garage.

In approving the final design, the Redevelopment Agency would also have to grant the project a 82-space parking exception.

The code requires 789 spaces, but just 707 are included, according to the final proposal.

Residents had protested the potential traffic impacts of the Avalon proposal, but Lanzafame said the large residential component of the Triangle Project would temper the impact of the commercial side.

A parking demand analysis determined only 699 spaces would be needed for peak times on any given day.

The Glendale Amtrak-Metrolink transportation center is two blocks away, and Glendale Memorial Hospital as a major employer could mean more people walking to work. A Vons market is also across the way on Los Feliz Road.

The project, if built, would bring an estimated $760,000 in park impact fees to the city, according to a city report.

The Redevelopment Agency meets at 2:30 p.m. today in City Council Chambers, City Hall, 613 E. Broadway.


 JASON WELLS covers City Hall. He may be reached at (818) 637-3235 or by e-mail at jason.wells@latimes.com.

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