Disney to move its ride shop to Glendale

Glendale will soon be the birthplace of the Walt Disney Co.’s world-famous theme park attractions after the entertainment giant moves its machine shop here from North Hollywood.

The Glendale City Council on Tuesday signed off on plans for the shop building planned for 900 Grand Central Ave. at Flower Street. The company plans to demolish one existing Grand Central building and add to another to create the 56,000-square-foot facility.

The council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency, voted 4-0 to approve the proposal. Councilwoman Laura Friedman was absent.

At the hearing, Neil Jurgens, Disney’s vice president of design and delivery, said work at the building would be shielded from the prying eyes of competitors or the public.

“The building is very opaque, and that is because we are building theme park attraction components within this area,” Jurgens said. “We are also going to screen the parking lot area because we don’t really want anyone looking in there, taking photos and that sort of thing.”

The project follows Disney’s construction of a six-story office building, a child-care center and other facilities on its 125-acre Glendale campus. The machine shop is a smaller addition than other recent projects, with work expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Disney officials declined to say how many jobs would be moving to Glendale or when it would close the North Hollywood machine shop.

Still, the move is a net gain for Glendale as it pushes the concept of the San Fernando Creative Corridor, the underutilized industrial area now home to the Disney campus and other media firms.

“I’m sure there will be welders and machinists and everything else, it is just a great employment base,” City Councilman Frank Quintero said.

Also this week, Kinetic Lighting Inc. — which sells and rents lighting equipment as well as helping produce movie premieres and other special events — announced plans to relocate from North Hollywood to 722 Thompson Ave. near Flower Street.

Kinetic President David Rosen said the company has 14 full- and 30 part-time employees.

Rosen said access to numerous freeways was a bonus for the firm and its clients. He also praised the city for designating a single person, economic development manager Ken Hitts, to work with the company on identifying usable sites and helping to navigate the permit process.

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