Tropico Apartments

An architect's rendering of the Tropico Apartments project on Los Feliz Road. (Courtesy of Architects Orange / March 26, 2014)

The developers of a proposed 225-unit apartment complex on Los Feliz Road were asked by the Glendale City Council on Tuesday to reduce its density by 25% to better accommodate the amount of parking in the project, but it’s unclear whether a redesign will come back for consideration.

Council members voted 3-2 to require Dallas, Texas-based Mill Creek Residential Trust to trim the number of units in the Tropico Apartments complex proposed at 435 Los Feliz Road in order to make sure there’s adequate parking prior to being granted approval to build.

But Michael Genthe, the firm’s managing director, said he doesn’t know if a reduction can be done because it would reduce the agreed-upon price between Mill Creek and the site’s owner, meaning the deal might fall through.

The developer is looking to build a five-story building and a parking structure with 337 spaces on a 2.1-acre vacant lot abutting the Los Angeles border and near the Southern Pacific Railroad right-of-way.

The two structures would be bisected by the 20-foot-wide flood control easement controlled by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District.

The site hasn’t seen any activity in recent years. Twice since 2005, mixed-used projects have been slated for the site, but those entitlements both eventually expired.

Zoning in the area would require Mill Creek to provide 508 parking spaces, but city staff applied the Glendale’s Downtown Specific Plan to grant an exception.

The rationale for doing so was because the proposed project site is close to transit and the area has similar characteristics to downtown, said Hassan Haghani, the city’s community development director.

Councilman Ara Najarian said he did not agree with the reasoning given established guidelines for the San Fernando Road Corridor.

He said he would support the project if it was less dense and the amount of parking was unchanged.

“We need something on that corner, but the current mix of 225 units with a 170 parking-space shortfall is too much for the community to bear,” he said.

Council members ended up voting on an alternative in the staff report that would require the project density to be reduced by 25%.

Mayor Dave Weaver — who, along with Councilman Zareh Sinanyan voted against the change — said an apartment complex is likely the only type of project that would work on that section of Los Feliz.

He said he wanted to move forward with the project as-is because it would be better than having yet another project planned for the site never get off the ground.

“You have your marching orders, reduce 25% density … or we’ll leave it vacant for who knows how many more years,” Weaver said.

Genthe would not comment on the Tropico project after the council vote and it’s unclear when, or if, a redesigned project would come back for another vote.

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Follow Arin Mikailian on Twitter: @ArinMikailian.

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