Why is the city destroying links to its past?

Re: “Glendale City Council OKs project plan for San Fernando corridor,” May 16. Does Glendale’s future really depend on destroying its past?

This project, designated “The Link,” would replace an architecturally unique 1930s Spanish Colonial Revival commercial building at 3901 San Fernando Road with 142 multi-family residential units, 10,000 square feet of retail/office space and 5,000 square feet of flexible space. We aren’t sure what “link” the project title refers to, but it certainly isn’t to our rich architectural and cultural heritage.

It turns out that at least five other historic properties are slated for possible demolition as part of three separate multi-unit housing developments. This figure does not include the Streamline Moderne Alexander’s Market building (lately Jo-Ann Fabrics), built in 1938 by Morgan Walls and Clements and recently demolished to make way for a 166-unit apartment complex.

A 507-unit residential project on North Central Avenue, two blocks south of the 134 Freeway, threatens a series of three mid-20th century multi-story brick buildings that are identified in the city’s own Downtown Specific Plan as potentially eligible for listing on the California Register of Historic Places. (A fourth California Register-eligible building will soon be demolished as part of a new six-story 235-unit apartment building.)

The city of Glendale, in partnership with the YMCA, is currently seeking proposals for another downtown residential project of indeterminate units that could result in the demolition of two small-scale 1920s apartment buildings at 119 and 127-129 North Kenwood, structures that are similarly presented as eligible for listing on the Glendale Register of Historic Resources in the City’s Downtown Specific Plan. No incentives are provided to developers who propose to incorporate the existing structures into the new development, even though the city could have included them.

Can’t Glendale find ways, as nearby cities have done, to manage growth and achieve economic development by recognizing and reusing, not destroying, irreplaceable historic resources?

Jamie Anderson
Sean Bersell
Ron Cressy
Greg Grammer
Marcia Hanford
Brian Haworth
Catherine Jurca
Ammar Kharouf
Vrej Mardian
Annie Reed
Francesca Smith
Anita Weaver

Editor's Note: The writers are members, Board of Directors and Preservation Advocacy Committee, the Glendale Historical Society.

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