By Mary O’KEEFE
A representative from New Urban West, Inc. has confirmed that they are in negotiations with the be.group to purchase the Twelve Oaks property at 2820 Sycamore Ave.
“We have not purchased the property, but we are looking at the potential purchase,” said Ryan Bean, director of Acquisitions and Entitlements for New Urban West, Inc.
The company is a privately- held Santa Monica-based developer.
There have been rumors about New Urban West purchasing the property but Dan Hutson, VP of Communications and Marketing for be.group, said he could not confirm nor deny the new owner’s identity because the sale had not been completed. The be.group, formerly Southern California Presbyterian Homes, has owned and operated Twelve Oaks for about 10 years.
Other rumors include that the new developers are going to build 20 homes on the property.
“I don’t know where anyone heard that,” Bean said, adding the company is not planning on building anything until they complete its due diligence.
“We will need a full tree survey and an arborist report,” he added.
Bean said the company is in the process of doing its due diligence. They understand and are sensitive to the city and community concerns as well as the strict policies of the city of Glendale’s permitting office.
“We’ve obviously read all of the city’s zoning codes and understand their process,” he said.
A source close to the sale said that be.group and the potential buyers of the Twelve Oaks site have been in talks “for at least three months.”
Up in the air are the possibilities as to how the site can be redeveloped.
Dotting the property are many oak trees that, according to a City of Glendale ordinance on the preservation of its indigenous trees, “are natural aesthetic resources which help define the character of the city.”
“It is pertinent to the public interest,” the ordinance continues, “that these trees be protected from mutilation, indiscriminate cutting, damage, destruction or removal in order to provide for conservation purposes, for counteracting air and noise pollution, and minimizing soil erosion and related environmental damage.”
According to Hassan Haghani and Roger Kilsie of the city’s Community Development Department, no permits of any kind have yet been filed through their office.
Being sensitive to local concerns and listening to the community, Bean said, is something the company has done in the past with other properties.
On its website, the company states that it worked closely with local government officials and community members with several properties including the development of Long Canyon at Wood Ranch in Simi Valley.
“When we became involved, the land was owned by the local school district. We competed for purchase of the site and won, based largely on our local experience and our ability to work collaboratively with local government agencies and the community-at-large. We reworked the original plans for the village, moving homes off hillsides to conserve open space and save large stands of old oak trees,” states the website.
According to its website, they have a history of buying property in areas with challenging topography.
“We have built thousands of homes from Ventura to San Diego,” Bean said.
The company has worked with a variety of cities and community members on various projects and that skill will be needed when, and if, New Urban West purchases Twelve Oaks.
Since the news of the sale, community members have been working to organize meetings, contacting city officials and educating themselves on the Glendale Design Review Board and city ordinances. They are preparing to protect the area. Those who have been the first affected by the sale are, of course, those residents of the Twelve Oaks Lodge assisted living facility. After dealing with the initial shock of their home being sold, they then had to deal with the reality of finding a new place to live and saying goodbye to friends and the La Crescenta way of life they had come to love.
Once the closing of the facility was a reality, community members began to worry about what would happen to this oak tree oasis and began organizing meetings as well as emailing each other about any news that has been made available.
There have been two meetings set, so far, to discuss the property. The first will be held on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. at the La Crescenta Library, 2809 Foothill Blvd. in La Crescenta as part of the Crescenta Valley Community Association meeting. The second is on Oct. 2 at the Citibank community room at 2350 Honolulu Ave. in Montrose. That meeting is sponsored by the Montrose Sparr Heights Verdugo City Homeowners Association.