Tropico Apartments

Architect's rendering of the 238-unit Tropico Apartments project on Los Feliz Road. (Courtesy of CORBeL Architects / February 27, 2013)

Glendale's development boom is spreading south from downtown to the city border as a planned six-story, 238-unit apartment complex received initial approval Tuesday in a unanimous vote by the City Council.

Proposed by L.A.-based Avalon Land Co., LLC, Tropico Apartments would be built on a 91,926-square-foot lot at 435 W. Los Feliz Road, which was the site for two proposed developments in the past several years that were never completed.

In 2005, a mixed-use project with condominiums and retail was approved but fell through. Then in 2008, a development featuring a grocery store, day spa, restaurants and retail got the green light, but it also never materialized.

The lot currently sits vacant.

The new complex would also include a five-story, 279-space above-ground parking structure that would act as a buffer between the apartments and the railroad tracks that run along the lot's west edge.

The planned apartment complex will be the second major residential development to land in Tropico — the area bearing the name of the turn-of-the-century community that became southern Glendale.

The so-called Triangle Project, located just to the east on a 2.18-acre lot bordered by Los Feliz Road, Central Avenue and San Fernando Road, won city approval in September. It features a six-story, 287-unit building with retail/office space on the ground level.

Mayor Frank Quintero said he was excited for a project that would present a new face for the city's south side.

“This is a gateway to the city of Glendale as you come off the 5 Freeway, and frankly, what we have there right now is horrible,” Quintero said.

Nearby businesses weren't as thrilled, however. William Narez, administrator of the Gateway Animal Hospital on Los Feliz Road, said he was concerned the project would hurt local businesses.

“With all of the cars that will be located at the project, it will just increase the jams, increase the traffic we have,” Narez said. “We're worried it will impact customers, and we're worried about the loss of street parking.”

Development consultant Rodney Khan said the project would undergo a full environmental impact report as the next step, adding that it was expected to have 80% less impact on traffic than the previously approved retail development with a grocery store.

By designating 12 units for low-income housing, the project qualified for increased density and reduced parking space requirements under state law.

Councilman Rafi Manoukian said his vote to let the project move forward with a specific design wasn't an unqualified endorsement.

“I'm very hesitant about the project,” Manoukian said. “I will scrutinize very closely the traffic impacts.”

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