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City OKs property price cut

A lack of interest in the auction of a 30,000-square-foot city-owned property that once housed an electrical substation has prompted Glendale to slash original $600,000 asking price in half. It also led to a round of high-profile sales pitches.

“Come on folks, $300,000, that’s a bargain,” Mayor Laura Friedman said Tuesday from the City Council dais in attempt to solicit bids for the land at 3445 Altura Avenue.

Glendale Water & Power had planned to sell the property, which is bordered by homes in North Glendale, for $600,000 to make some extra money. But after no one showed up at an open house a few months ago and no bids on the property came in at the auction in September, officials reevaluated the price, which had been set by an appraiser, said Glendale Water & Power General Manager Glenn Steiger.

“We paid for that appraisal? Can we get our money back?” asked Councilman Rafi Manoukian.


City Manager Jim Starbird pointed to market forces as one reason for the unsuccessful auction.

“Obviously, it wasn’t reflective of the market,” Starbird said, referring to the price.

Glendale Water & Power equipment has been removed from the site, but the buyer would be responsible for tearing down a small block building and some gates. The parcel could accommodate a single-family home, or it could be developed into more than one property if the lot were subdivided, officials have said. It is zoned R-1, for single-family residences.

Keith Sorem, a Realtor at Keller Williams Realty in Glendale, said the costs of subdivision and preparing the land may come into play as a buyer mulls over the lot, especially since the market is flush with deals and Glendale’s lengthy design review process can be intimidating.


“It’s better to drastically cut the price and let developers pick the true market value,” Sorem said.

This is the first time the utility has tried to auction off a substation property. Utility officials had planned to build a new substation on the parcel, but after upgrading other infrastructure in the area, they determined a new station was unnecessary.