The proposed six-story project, which would include a CVS pharmacy on its first level, as well as 167 apartments split in two buildings divided by an alley, received preliminary approval from the City Council in a 4-1 vote Tuesday.
The vote came after an extended discussion by the council about the merits of the project, with Councilwoman Laura Friedman voicing extreme skepticism about its design and Councilman Ara Najarian voting against it.
Najarian said he was voting no because he was worried that residential development in Glendale needed to be slowed down.
Friedman said her approval of the design was driven by her desire to see the developer, the Molasky Group of Companies out of Las Vegas, keep CVS as a tenant — their lease being conditional on the stage-one approval — even though she was disappointed in the architecture on offer.
“To me this is not the signature architecture that we're looking for, with innovative design, with quality design and also with quality materials.... To me, this looks like it could be a Days Inn somewhere,” she said.
The project follows in the footsteps of three similarly scaled mixed-use buildings being developed by Holland Partners Group at Central and Wilson, Orange Avenue and Wilson and Brand Boulevard and Wilson.
The Central and Wilson intersection is also home to a proposed 11-story Mariott Courtyard Hotel.
Song Kim, the primary architect on the project from Humphreys and Partners, had earlier said his team's approach to the building was to create something that could fit in a number of settings.
“Our intention is to create a piece of architecture that is more soothing than stimulating, more general than specific, more residential than commercial,” he said.
Councilmen Frank Quintero and Dave Weaver both voiced their support for the design, however, with Quintero saying he liked the contrast it presented to the more modernist designs of the other developments coming to Central.
“I just have a feeling from the architecture itself that this may be a little different tenant, a high-end tenant,” he said.
The approval came with seven conditions from the city staff, including redesigning the building to reduce the bulk of the building that faces the residential neighborhood to its west, and using actual stone and brick on façade details, not moldings or other simulated materials.
Friedman said that those conditions must be met before the building comes back for stage-two approval if it wants to move forward.
“We have another bite at the apple with this project in terms of design,” Friedman said. “When it comes back for stage-two review, I won't be so forgiving.”