Glendale Unified School District's professional development center in downtown Glendale is set to become a six-story mixed-use apartment complex following City Council's approval of design plans for the building on Tuesday.
The school district has been discussing the site, which currently consists of a single-story office building and a parking lot, behind closed doors for some time, but school officials have yet to publicly disclose the sale.
The $16.5-million project on the southwest corner of Central Avenue and Myrtle Street was approved on Tuesday by a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Najarian dissenting. The 95,793-square-foot building is set to include 94 residential units and 1,987 square feet of ground-level commercial space in a podium-style building surrounding a central courtyard.
At its maximum height, the project is six stories, but it drops down to four stories along Myrtle Street.
Although most of the surrounding area consists of one- and two-story buildings, the city's planning document for downtown "envisions the development of Central Avenue into a robust, mixed-use urban boulevard of mid-rise buildings," according to a city report.
"I find no problem with the project at all," said Councilman Dave Weaver, adding that an upsurge of complaints from residents concerned about the development boom's environmental impact is unwarranted.
"As far as water, utilities, it's all been addressed downtown," he said, referring to a 2006 planning document that set the stage for the current increase in apartment projects.
More than 3,800 units across about two dozen projects south of the Ventura (134) Freeway are either recently completed, under construction or in the entitlement process.
The latest project was designed to pair with 301 N. Central Ave., an 84-unit mixed-use apartment complex by the same developer, Burbank-based Chandler Pratt & Partners. The council unanimously approved that project, which has a similar look, last year.
"It's a good companion to the project next door," said Councilman Frank Quintero.
The new project's design is split to have a taller, urban look facing Central Avenue and a more residential feel along Myrtle Street, which is where the lobby entrance as well as a bike repair and yoga center are planned to be located.
The brown-and-white building will be framed by brown cement siding and balconies above the ground-level commercial space on Central Avenue. The Myrtle Street side will feature large picture windows, open-air balconies in the elevator lobbies and a stone-clad elevator tower.
Other apartment projects near the proposed building include the recently completed Lex on Orange, a 300-unit, upscale complex with a game-tech lounge and outdoor yoga deck, and Legendary Towers, an 80-unit project under construction.
The project's proposed height exceeds what the city's zoning allows, but the developer is taking advantage of a density bonus that permits the larger project so long as it includes1,425 square feet of public open space and four affordable housing units.
The project includes 3,088 square feet of publicly accessible open space, including a covered plaza at the street corner.
The developer did not ask for a parking variance, a key issue for the anti-development crowd who say the dozens of new apartment buildings will add to the city's already-existing parking and traffic problems.
The project includes 135 spaces and its subterranean parking will be connected to the other Chandler Pratt & partners development.