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Glendale city leaders scramble to control properties

They hope to hang onto choice projects, allow the state to sell several others.

September 27, 2013|By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com
(Steve Greenberg…)

This story has been corrected. See details below.

As the state moves to liquidate the assets of dismantled community redevelopment agencies, Glendale officials are looking to put some storefronts in the Exchange and other city-owned properties up for sale but are fighting to retain control of the Alex Theatre, Museum of Neon Art and a park in the middle of the Americana at Brand.

The fate of 11 Glendale properties was laid out in a plan approved Tuesday by the Glendale Successor Agency, which oversees real estate formerly controlled by Glendale's redevelopment agency.

The document now heads to a local oversight board for approval before making its way to the California Department of Finance.

The state agency will then decide which of the former redevelopment agency properties to turn over to city control and which ones the state will force the sale of, said Philip Lanzafame, Glendale's director of economic development.

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Proceeds from sales would be split among several public agencies, including the city, county, Glendale Community College, Glendale Unified School District and the Los Angeles County Flood Control District, said Elena Bolbolian, principal administrative officer for the city's Community Development Department.

Each of those agencies is represented on the local oversight board, she said.

Under the plan, storefronts in the garage of the Exchange, a shopping development located on North Maryland Avenue between Broadway and Wilson Avenue, would be put on the market for $1.49 million.

The rest of the Exchange is privately owned.

The storefronts in the garage of commercial complex were initially intended for private ownership but came under city control in the 1990s after its developer defaulted on a redevelopment agency agreement, Lanzafame said.

The plan also calls for the city to take ownership of the Panda Inn restaurant on East Wilson Avenue, but only until the property can be sold as part of a pending development agreement.

The building and two adjacent city-owned parking lots are slated to become a mixed-use development that will include a five-screen Laemmle movie theater, up to 10,000 square feet of retail space and 42 apartments, Lanzafame said.

That deal is on hold as city officials seek $1.1-million to help fund construction of underground parking, he said.

The Glendale Successor Agency plan calls for the city to retain long-term ownership of several high-profile properties, including the Alex Theater, which would continue to operate as a nonprofit entertainment venue.

The agency plan also calls for city control of the courtyard at the Americana at Brand to preserve its status as a city park, the Americana's parking structure and the Museum of Neon Art.

Glendale officials also seek to maintain control of a slice of land near the museum's South Brand Boulevard entrance, the site of a planned public plaza and walkway connecting Brand to the Glendale Central Library and Central Park.

[For the record: Sept. 27, 2013: An earlier version of this story indicated that the entire Exchange would be sold.]

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Follow Joe Piasecki on Twitter: @JoePiasecki.


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