Apartment complex approved for San Fernando Corridor

The City Council this week reviewed the design of a 180-unit mixed-use project in the San Fernando Corridor bounded by Broadway to the south, Pacific Avenue to the east, and Kenilworth Avenue to the west. An Office Depot is currently on the 1.78-acre site. (Courtesy of the City of Glendale / July 9, 2014)

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Another mixed-use apartment complex may be headed to Glendale as a 180-unit project featuring restaurant, retail and live-work components passed the first round of City Council design review on a unanimous vote Tuesday afternoon.

More than 3,800 units are either under construction, in the pipeline or recently completed below the Ventura (134) Freeway.

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FOR THE RECORD: A previous photo caption stated that an Office Depot is slated to fill the commercial component at the 1.78-acre site. This is incorrect. An Office Depot is currently located at this site. 

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While much of the development has been in the city’s downtown, the newest project is in the San Fernando Corridor. The 1.8-acre site in a mixed-residential and commercial area on the corner of Pacific Avenue and Broadway currently is occupied by an Office Depot.

Although the building is not in downtown proper, development officials said the proximity to the city’s core — it is a 12-minute walk from the Glendale Galleria and Americana at Brand — make this project a key part of the city’s overall vision of a “live-work” downtown.

City Manager Scott Ochoa described the project, which scales down toward the north from five stories to four stories to three stories, as a “beacon” in the community. As much as downtown has attracted development, Glendale officials are trying to build an urban neighborhood in the San Fernando Corridor as well.

“I think this is an upgrade,” said former Councilman Frank Quintero, who ended his term later that evening.

Although the area is zoned for a building at a maximum height of four stories, the developer can get that fifth floor if it provides about nine units of affordable housing for very low-income tenants, according to state law. The project, which features 18,200 square feet of commercial space and about two-thirds of an acre of open space, is set to include 330 parking spaces, a tad more than the 313 required by city code. Parking for new apartment projects has been an ongoing concern at City Hall since south Glendale residents already have parking issues.

Some residents to the north of the project site complained the apartment complex would reduce their privacy, but council members and developer representatives said the development would be an improvement to the noise and environmental impacts produced by Office Depot’s loading dock and parking lot.

The contemporary, podium-style design of the building is meant to have four distinct styles to accommodate the differing frontages throughout the development. Four residential units that open directly to the street near the corner of Kenilworth Avenue are supposed to signify a shift into a residential neighborhood, while the Pacific Avenue side, which is set to include a restaurant will look more urban. The sense of mass of the building is supposed to be reduced by contrasting dark and light tones as well as large window openings and windows that wrap corners, according to a city report.

The council will have a second crack at the project during its secondary design review, which will include hammering down traffic flow, environmental impacts and final design considerations.

“There’s more to do,” said Councilman Dave Weaver, although he noted that he would likely approve the project on the second round.