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Big plans downtown are getting smaller

Intentions of adding several high-rise residential projects have fallen well short.

November 13, 2010|By Melanie Hicken, melanie.hicken@latimes.com
  • With the flood of high-rise towers slated to transform downtown halted by the economic recession, Glendales skyline wont be changing anytime soon.
With the flood of high-rise towers slated to transform… (File )

CITY HALL — With the flood of iconic high-rises that were supposed to transform downtown having been halted by the economic recession, Glendale's skyline won't be changing anytime soon.

During a 2008 hearing on Verdugo Gardens, a planned 24-story luxury condominium complex, city officials predicted the project would help transform downtown into a bustling residential area.

"It's going to be a signature building," Councilman Frank Quintero said at the time. "This is going to introduce a new type of residential living in the city."

Two years later, that introduction is a long way off.

The tower was one in a string of planned high-rise condominium projects intended to carry out a vision outlined in the city's Downtown Specific Plan, a planning guide adopted by the City Council in 2006 that called for establishing a residential base for the downtown business district.

The planned high-rises — which made their way through the pipeline following the plan's adoption — would have added nearly 900 residential units to the immediate downtown area. They included:

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— Verdugo Gardens, slated for the intersection of Central and Sanchez avenues overlooking the Ventura (134) Freeway, featured a 24-story, 287-unit condominium tower with ground floor commercial and retail uses.

—The Alexander was an Intracorp project slated for the current site of Joann Fabrics & Crafts at the corner of Wilson Avenue and Orange Street. It was to feature Art Deco style with two 16-story towers housing 201 condominiums and 2,250 square feet of commercial space.

—City Center II, an Amidi Group development planned for the corner of Brand Boulevard and Wilson Avenue, featured 184 condominiums and a 172-room, four-star hotel in towers of 18 and 20 stories.

—Another Amidi project at the corner of Milford and Orange streets would have housed 142 residential units within a 24-story tower, while an eight-story project slated for the corner of Central and California avenues would have added another 72 units.

As a consultant hired by the various developers, Rodney Khan helped shepherd all of the high-rise projects through the entitlement process.

"None of them have been built," Khan said. "None of them have been financed. And most of them are being redesigned."

That also means the city has yet to see millions in revenues associated with the new developments, including construction permits, impact fees and property tax income.

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