Council hopes YMCA development will have a cultural component

The next hip residential complex in Glendale may be stationed on YMCA property.

The City Council, acting in its dual role as the Housing Authority, approved a plan to turn about one acre of land owned by the YMCA into an apartment complex focused on attracting arts and entertainment lovers.

Glendale and YMCA officials plan to work together to attract a developer to build the facility at 140 N. Louise St. Those projects with arts components, such as a gallery, or a willingness to partner with the YMCA on joint programming are preferred.

Councilwoman Laura Friedman said she liked the idea of an arts component in the building, adding that she preferred if the development attracted the type of resident who wouldn't mind having a nightclub or jazz venue nearby.

“To me that's more important than having arts itself inside of that development,” Friedman said.

The YMCA had proposed an affordable housing development for seniors on the property, but the Housing Authority denied the project in May. Deputy Housing Director Peter Zovak said the city has an abundance of senior housing in the area, so this development could serve another population.

The development would be adjacent to the downtown arts and entertainment district anchored to the north by the Alex Theatre and a proposed independent movie theater, and to the south by the Central Library and proposed Museum of Neon Art, which is set to begin construction in April.

The YMCA's main gymnasium facility would remain, as well as a nearby 84-unit hotel for males. The development would replace 22-unit and four-unit complexes bounded by Kenwood Street and an alleyway near the historic U.S. Post Office on Broadway.

The proposed project could either be market rate or affordable housing. If it's the latter, the city's Housing Authority would be responsible for paying relocation costs.

Given that the nearby post office is at risk of being shuttered, Mayor Frank Quintero said the right kind of residential development at the YMCA could attract a creative business to the historic site.

“I think it's something that's going to benefit the Y and obviously benefit the city,” Quintero said of the proposed project. “It's all going to be about the tenants and what type of person or persons we get in there.”

Project proposals are due May 15 and city officials plan to select a developer by Aug. 15. If all goes to plan, construction could be completed by spring 2016, Zovak said.

Several new residential developments focused on young professionals are cropping up in Glendale's downtown core. Under construction nearby are the Lex on Orange — a 307-unit complex on Orange Street and Lexington Avenue — and the 209-unit Eleve Lofts & Skydeck at Maryland Avenue and Broadway, which will feature “micro apartments” designed for Generation Y consumers.


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