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Council approves large, 'complex' apartment project

Councilman calls the planned development on Central and Doran 'King Kong.'

November 12, 2013|By Daniel Siegal, daniel.siegal@latimes.com
  • A rendering of 526-540 N. Central, an east view along Doran St.
A rendering of 526-540 N. Central, an east view along Doran… (Courtesy of the…)

Another apartment development with more than 500 units is coming to Glendale, as a six-story, two-building project that will straddle either side of two downtown streets won the City Council’s approval last week.

The project, being developed by San Francisco-based Carmel Partners, would split 507 apartments across two buildings, with the development running on both sides of Central Avenue and Doran Street.

The council gave final design approval for the project, though Councilman Ara Najarian didn’t support many aspects of it after asking the motions and ordinances tied to the project be broken into separate votes.

City Manager Scott Ochoa told the council members the project was notable for both its size and because it crosses outside the development-friendly downtown zoning.

“This is a complex project we are bringing before you, complex in the size and scope,” Ochoa said. “It’s complex in that it straddles a couple of streets, and complex in that it straddles the downtown specific [plan] area.”

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The project will be the second 500-plus-unit development approved under the current downtown specific plan, following the approval last month of a 535-unit live-work complex just south on Central at Lexington Avenue.

The larger building will be six stories and contain 315 units on a 3.46-acre site on the west side of Central, while a five-story building on the east side of the street will have 192 units on a 2-acre lot.

Both of the buildings will have a central above-ground parking structure that the residential units will wrap around, as opposed to the “podium” design featuring subterranean parking lots that have predominated most of the apartment buildings the council has approved lately.

The larger building’s parking structure will contain 455 spaces, and the other will have 275 spaces.

Realtor Sam Manoukian said during the council meeting’s public-comment period that the large project would bring more potential customers for Glendale’s existing and new businesses.

“The most important factor — it brings in the housing and brings in the foot traffic [to] the other projects for them to succeed,” he said.

Najarian said, however, that it was the project’s size that most concerned him.

“I’m going to call it King Kong, because it’s way too big and it has its arms around the throat of Glendale as residents enter and exit the city,” he said.

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Follow Daniel Siegal on Google+ and on Twitter: @Daniel_Siegal.

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