City officials, who have marketed the city to regional investors as the future home of the Americana, are already crediting the project as a catalyst for more downtown redevelopment.
But not all residents or business leaders are looking forward to the project.
Some small merchants and restaurants on North Brand Boulevard fear the project will steer pedestrians away from their businesses and drive up property values and rent costs.
Others argue that with more pedestrians and visitors in the city, commerce will spill out of the Americana and into other Glendale shops.
The project will be the first mixed-use development with a residential component to open since the city approved its downtown specific plan in November 2006.
Design review process overhaul
Single-family home projects will be scrutinized under a different review system this year when the City Council is expected to finalize the new process.
No longer will the city’s two design review boards have broad latitude to change a proposal’s design through repeated conditions and sendbacks if the council gives final approval of the proposed changes.
The changes are a result of criticism that has grown louder over the past few years, with residents charging the two boards of approving home designs that are too large and incompatible with their neighborhoods.
Starting in August, the City Council laid the groundwork to give planning staff more influence with architects earlier on in the design process before a project reaches a design review board, which under the new system would be bound by a yet-to-be approved set of design guidelines.
Appeals would go directly to the City Council instead of to an Alternative Assessment Panel comprised of members from both design review boards.
On Dec. 18, the City Council voted to move the meeting times for both review boards to 5 p.m. each Thursday instead of 1 p.m. to make it easier for homeowners and residents to participate.