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La Cañada officials consider Sports Chalet’s headquarters as a potential buy

With City Hall quarters growing increasingly close, La Cañada officials seem to be eyeing available real estate in search of a property that could accommodate a relocation, or at least handle the personnel overflows of more populous departments.

An agenda for a Dec. 15 closed session meeting of the La Cañada Flintridge City Council indicated City Manager Mark Alexander is currently engaged in talks with La Cañada Properties, Inc., regarding possible prices and terms of payment for 1 Sport Chalet Drive, which has served as Sport Chalet headquarters since 2002.

While Alexander stated in an email last week he was not at liberty to discuss the matter, he said the current City Hall building, located at 1327 Foothill Blvd., has been owned by the city for at least the past 15 years and occupied by city staff even longer.

Mayor Dave Spence said in an interview last week city officials had been contacted by a representative of La Cañada Properties and told the space was being put up for sale. Officials have sought appraisals for both the Sport Chalet building and the current City Hall building, he added.

“The city is still evaluating what would be the most financially prudent view,” Spence said. “We’re trying to get a handle on the amount of money we could get for the current City Hall if we did move the location.”

The property on which Sport Chalet’s corporate office sits includes the 27,915 square-foot building at 1 Sport Chalet Drive, as well as a 3,038 square-foot building at 827 Houseman St., currently being leased by the Foothill Progressive Montessori School through 2024.

According to Glendale commercial real estate broker Stevenson Real Estate Services, which has the property listed online for sale or for lease, the first floor of the corporate office building can be leased for the monthly rate of $2.30 per square foot. The entire lot is listed as available for purchase for a total of $14.4 million.

Randy Stevenson said in an interview Tuesday Sport Chalet’s corporate headquarters currently occupies the building’s second floor. While the option to lease the bottom floor has been available since September, the owners decided to also list the property for sale about a month ago. Stevenson confirmed La Cañada city officials expressed some interest in the space some months back.

“They toured the building,” he said. “We coordinated a tour, got the building accessible and walked them through.”

Spence said he believed the estimate given the city for an undetermined portion of the property was in the neighborhood of about $11 million.

In 2014, the locally founded and independently operated Sport Chalet was bought by Connecticut-based Vestis Retail Group, which owns East Coast sports retailers Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports. At the time of the sale, Vestis announced Sport Chalet chief executive Craig Levra would remain in that position in the La Cañada corporate office for the foreseeable future.

In May of this year, Levra left the company and is now actively involved in the boards of a database and a tech retail company. It’s unclear whether Vestis plans to move all Sport Chalet offices elsewhere. Representatives from the company did not return multiple calls.

Meanwhile, the Sport Chalet site is not the only option being considered to reduce overcrowding at City Hall. Spence said city officials were recently advised a neighboring office building adjacent to Memorial Park may soon be available for purchase.

While the space would not likely accommodate all the city’s departments, the mayor said it could provide a means for housing employees from some of the city’s more crowded work spaces.

“We are trying to figure out how we can relieve the congestion of our employees,” Spence said. “These two buildings are up for sale, so we’re just trying to evaluate what is the best move.”

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Sara Cardine, sara.cardine@latimes.com

Twitter: @SaraCardine


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