Stalled Laemmle Lofts project gets a jump start

A mixed-use project featuring a five-screen Laemmle Theatre had been stalled for a while, but it appears to be moving forward with the City Council’s approval of a development agreement for the project Tuesday.

The four-story project, which will include 42 apartments above 6,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground level, had originally been tied to redevelopment, which state legislators did away with last year when they eliminated 400 redevelopment agencies throughout the state.

The agencies were dissolved to close a multimillion-dollar funding gap and the funds are now distributed to different agencies including school districts and counties.

In a 4-1 vote, the City Council approved a multi-agency agreement among the city, L.A. County and Glendale Community College District to move the Laemmle Lofts project closer to the green light. Mayor Dave Weaver voted against the agreement.

The $12.88-million project on the corner of Wilson and Maryland avenues is expected to generate more than $5.7 million over 30 years through various taxes, which will be shared among the agencies in the agreement.

Rodney Khan, a consultant on the project, said the next step in the process will be to put the plan before the state’s Department of Finance. If the project gets its blessing, which is expected sometime in February, the plan would then go through a plan check.

Finally, Khan said, building permits would be pulled and actual construction would be expected to begin in 2015.

“It’s excellent news,” Khan said. “The project was put on hold the last three years because of the demise of redevelopment. It’s the northern anchor to the Entertainment District and will draw people into that area. The Exchange always needs more people.”

Philip Lanzafame, Glendale’s director of Economic Development, agreed.

“We’re very pleased that this project is finally coming to fruition,” Lanzafame said. “It brings a new venue to Glendale that currently does not exist — independent and art-related films.”

Laemmle Theaters are family owned by Robert and his son, Greg, and the chain was established in 1938. It has theaters in Beverly Hills, Claremont, Encino, North Hollywood, Pasadena, Santa Monica and West L.A.



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