Thursday, June 25, 2015

Laemmle Project Breaks Ground

Laemmle Lofts, a mixed use development to be located on the corner of Wilson and Maryland Avenues, recently broke ground. The project will anchor Glendale's Arts & Entertainment District and will consist of a four-story mixed-use building, containing 42 residential units on three floors (with a mezzanine) above a ground floor containing a five-screen Laemmle Cinema and approximately 6000 sq.ft. of ground retail space.

Laemmle Cinemas are known for their independent, art house & foreign film theaters as well as for their motto "not afraid of subtitles."

Greener Glendale Plan Recognized with SCAG Award of Excellence

The City of Glendale’s Greener Glendale Plan was awarded the “Excellence in Green Region Initiative” by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). SCAG is the nation's largest metropolitan planning organization. It undertakes a variety of planning and policy initiatives to encourage a more sustainable Southern California now and in the future.

The Greener Glendale Plan was recognized for three key achievements:
  1. Comprehensively addressing sustainability in Glendale, 
  2. Developing the plan with input and high participation from the community and all City Departments, and 
  3. For being actively implemented through other City policy documents including the North Glendale Community Plan, Housing Element, and the South Glendale Community Plan.
Development of the Greener Glendale Plan was funded by the Glendale Water and Power Department (via the Federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Grant) and staff work was conducted by the Community Development Department. The City used the international Urban Environmental Accords as a framework to outline how sustainability would be addressed in Glendale, and it received technical support from Local Governments for Sustainability, a non-profit, to develop the document. 

The Greener Glendale Plan addresses many sustainability concepts including:

APA LA Recognizes Glendale at the Alex

The Los Angeles Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) recognized the City of Glendale with the Implementation Award of Excellence for the Glendale Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) & Mobility Study. The award was presented to the City at the Annual APA Los Angeles Awards Gala, which will took place on Thursday, June 25th at 6pm at the Historic Alex Theater in Downtown Glendale.

The Implementation Award recognizes the DSP and Mobility Study’s Originality & Innovation, Effectiveness, Ability to Overcome Challenges, and Participation. Together, the Downtown Specific Plan and Mobility Study create an optimum transit- and pedestrian-oriented environment intended to reduce auto congestion. The Plans implement a city-wide policy to focus development away from established neighborhoods into locations where growth can best be managed. This focus beyond the City’s downtown has enabled Glendale to plan for improved open space and transportation connections to the surrounding region.

The implementation of policies in the DSP and Mobility Study, have resulted in substantial progress throughout the City:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

CDD Bids Farewell to Hassan Haghani

In May, community stakeholders and Community Development staff bid farewell to CDD Director Hassan Haghani, as he concluded a 12-year career in Glendale and embarked upon new responsibilities with the City of Santa Ana.

Hassan Haghani was hired as Glendale's Planning Administrator in 2003, and served as the City's Director of Community Development since 2010. During this time, the has City transformed through Hassan’s vision to make Glendale a better place in which to live, work and play. Under his leadership, the Department and the City of Glendale have been recognized by many professional organizations including the American Planning Association - Los Angeles and California Chapters, the California Building Officials (CALBO), HUD, the Southern California Association of Governments and others. 

His energy and enthusiasm has bred a unique culture of teamwork and camaraderie within the Department; his absence will be felt within the entire organization. His staff wish him much success in his new endeavor as the Executive Director for the Planning & Building Agency in the City of Santa Ana. 

Economic Development Director, Philip Lanzafame has been appointed Interim Director of Community Development until a new director is named. 

Affordable Housing Update: New Habitat for Humanity Project

Plans for a 6-unit affordable home ownership development in Glendale are moving forward following the Housing Authority's approval for the appropriation of $1.4 million in federal HOME funds to support the project. The project will be built on 634 and 700 East Lomita Avenue in partnership with San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity.  Priority will be given to low income, first time homebuyer households that live and/or work in Glendale.

The estimated cost of the entire project is $2.8 million. The Housing Authority will provide $1.4 million which will include the land purchase of $980,000. The project will consist of 6 attached townhouse style 1,300 square foot condominiums. Each unit will have three bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms and an attached two-car garage. Each affordable housing unit will be sold to qualified low-income first time homebuyers for an estimated total value of $425,444, of which approximately $194,000 will be a monthly mortgage  payable to Habitat at 0% interest. The balance will consist of deferred nonpayment loans on the units that will help ensure long time affordability to all future buyers. Additionally, each selected family must complete 500 hours of “sweat equity” by working on the project.

The Glendale Housing Authority is committed to developing new affordable housing opportunities in the City. Habitat has completed seven ownership projects and is in construction on its eighth in Glendale. This project will be their ninth project in Glendale, providing a total of 43 units of affordable home ownership housing.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

CDD Profiles: Mark Newman

Mark Newman is a "jack of all trades," 20 different trades to be exact. As a Building Inspector with the City's Building & Safety Division, Mark applies his extensive knowledge and expertise on a daily basis. Although he has been employed by the City for only 3 years, Glendale has gained a substantial number of new building assets as a result of his contributions.   

The Nuts & Bolts
One might ask, “What exactly does a building inspector do?” When a developer, property owner or builder wants to do some building construction, they get a set of construction plans (drawings and specifications) approved by a plan checker at the Permit Services Center.  who makes sure the plans conform to state building codes that ensure the safety of future occupants. 

With a building permit now in hand, a builder may begin construction on a project. At certain milestones throughout the project, the builder must get their work inspected to ensure all construction is being done in compliance with the approved plans. This is when they make an appointment to have the building inspector visit the construction site.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Glendale Beeline Welcomes Special Olympics!

The Special Olympics World Summer Games are coming to Los Angeles this summer. Over 7,000 athletes from 177 countries will compete in the games which open on July 25, 2015. In addition to the athletes, over 30,000 volunteers will participate behind the scenes to make sure this year's games are a big success.  

Glendale Beeline, in partnership with Metro, is supporting the Special Olympics this summer by providing free 9-day passes to the volunteers who are helping out at the sports venues all over LA County. Special Olympics organizers will receive regular blue TAP cards with the 9-day calendar-based pass that will be good throughout the Special Olympics event on participating transit agencies, including Glendale Beeline. The Special Olympic volunteers will also receive information on how to use the card, how to access trip planning information and a list of participating transit agencies. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Fresh Plans for Historic Masonic Temple

The Masonic Temple (234-238 S. Brand Blvd.) was added
to the Glendale Register of Historic Resources in 1997.
The life of the Masonic Temple has taken many unexpected twists and turns since it was built on the cusp of the Great Depression. Its latest chapter promises to breath new life into one of Glendale's most prominent landmarks. 

The Masonic Temple was built in 1928 for the Unity Lodge. As fortune would have it, they only owned the building until 1934 when it was lost to foreclosure. Although the building continued to be occupied by several Masonic groups in the decades to follow, its lack of windows and unusual floor plan made it difficult to occupy. Its last tenant, A Noise Within Theater Company, occupied the lower floors of the building from 1991 to 2011. In 2013, the building owner obtained approval for several alterations and upgrades that were started but never completed. 

The recent acquisition of the Masonic Temple by Caruso Affiliated will revitalize this historic landmark by allowing the unusually configured interior spaces to meet the needs of a modern office environment, while retaining its historic character and eligibility to continue listing on Glendale's Register of Historic Resource.

The Historic Preservation Commission has reviewed and approved Caruso Affiliated's rehabilitation proposal (Commission meetings held on 04/16/15 & 05/21/15). Highlights of the proposed renovations include: 
  • Restoration of the entry facade and its related features including entry arch, ironwork, the window above the primary door, black granite cladding at the base of the entire south facade, the two arches a the sides of the entry and the storefronts at the north and south side of the main entrance,
  • the installation of an open steel frame stair tower adjacent to the southwest corner of the building,