City auctions off substation

Yellow flash cards, a gavel, competing bids — the scene in City Council chambers transformed into an auction house Tuesday night as officials sold off a utility substation that Glendale Water & Power has been trying to get off its books for months.

As City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian took up the gavel, a bidding war ensued between three potential buyers who held up yellow cards as they raised the price of the 30,000-square-foot property at 3445 Altura Ave. from $300,000 to the winning bid of $395,000.

“This is a first for me,” Councilman Rafi Manoukian said from the dais.

The city originally planned to sell the property, which is bordered by homes in North Glendale, for $600,000, but officials said that appraisal was out of line with the market. No one showed up at an open house a few months ago and no bids on the property came in at an auction in September.

Buyers didn’t start to bite until after the price cut.

This marks the first time Glendale Water & Power has sold 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.

The utility decided to get rid of the property as it looks for ways to make money.

Glendale Water & Power equipment has been removed from the site, but the buyer, Serop Kesoyan, will be responsible for tearing down a small block building and some gates. There are also two power poles on the property that the city will try to remove, but if it can’t, Kesoyan will have to live with them.

The parcel could accommodate a single-family home, or it could be developed into more than one property if the lot was subdivided, officials have said. It is zoned for single-family residences.

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