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Officials reverse assets transfer

September 26, 2012|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com

Fearful that Glendale could lose out on state money, officials on Tuesday decided to reverse an earlier move to transfer $53 million worth of loans and property to the city’s books amid the statewide dissolution of local redevelopment agencies.

Officials had originally transferred the redevelopment-related assets — such as the Alex Theatre and the green space at the Americana at Brand — to the city to protect them from the state selling them off to the highest bidder to help close a multibillion-dollar budget gap, but City Manager Scott Ochoa told the group in charge of winding down local redevelopment operations that the push had slowed.

In February, a state mandate ended redevelopment, in which cities use incrementally higher property taxes to support developments such as the Americana at Brand.

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Rather than keeping higher property taxes, redevelopment agencies throughout the state must now send the money to Sacramento. They were also supposed to sell off their properties and other assets, but new legislation has tweaked the plan, putting the transferred assets of Glendale and other cities at risk of losing state money.

So on Tuesday, the so-called Successor Agency — which oversees the wind-down of local redevelopment — voted to reverse the transfer, but not without some trepidation.

“I don’t trust the state,” Councilman Ara Najarian said, adding that some of the assets being transferred are prime properties in Glendale. “The fact that [state officials are] slowing down or easing up is a matter of slowing down the executioner’s blade.”

Roughly two dozen loans, agreements and properties, including the Alex Theatre, will now be transferred to the Successor Agency. The city has been working on protecting the historic venue for months, going so far as changing the zoning of the land it sits on to prevent certain types of uses should it be sold off.

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Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ or Twitter: @brittanylevine

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