Plans Move Forward with New Glendale Hotel


At its first meeting of 2020, the Glendale City Council approved next steps on a new hotel at 515-523 North Central, picked colors for the new food truck court outside the Glendale Galleria, and took bold action, following the testimony of numerous members of the public, to attempt to limit new 5G cell towers from being installed in the city’s schools and parks.

At its afternoon meeting, the council approved the first design steps for the new seven-story, 137-room hotel planned for the southwest corner of Central and Doran. As described, the developers have reached a franchise agreement with the InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) to build and operate the proposed Indigo Hotel at the site now occupied by a small office building and a drive-thru Burger King.

The Stage 1 approval by council is aimed at considering the overall project, its mass and scale. Local developer Rodney Kahn reminded the council that the project requires no variances, public subsidy, zoning changes or parking requirements.

“It is 100% privately financed,” he said.

In fact, the hotel is expected to include 137 parking spots, although only 110 are mandated by zoning regulations.

Councilmember Paula Devine reminded her colleagues that it is a “by right” development, not subject to council denial, but that she appreciates that it looks like a building that fits, rather than one that is inconsistent, with its surroundings. She asked the developers to consider the inclusion of an art component.

Councilmember Frank Quintero demanded that the actual owners publicly affirm their commitment to work with the hotel workers union, UniteHere Local 11.

“Unless they provide living wages and benefits, what benefit is there to the city, ultimately?” Quintero asked. “When you work with the union, you get long-term employees who show up to work on a regular basis. And it’s not just for the big hotels.”

Mayor Ara Najarian recalled a hotel demand study done by the city in past years that showed a 700-room deficit.

“Based on the new DSP [the specific plan adopted by the city to develop the downtown area], what a difference. This is probably going to be the best looking building on North Central – compared to that other boxy stuff: the Onyx, the Altana, the Modera, Legendary Glendale, Lex on Orange. Although the council approved [them], it doesn’t have the architectural finesse this building has and I think if those projects had had this kind of architectural attention, half the criticism we get wouldn’t be there.”

Having heard a preliminary description of plans for a food truck-based open food courtyard outside the front of the Glendale Galleria in December, the council debated two competing color schemes (cool vs. earth tones) and reviewed further details of the proposed installation. The area will include corrugated metal shipping containers and open-air dining seating. Sponsored by Urbanspace, organizational representative Michael McGrath explained their mission is to create small businesses and that they had already been contacted by interested local small businesses, including one with a family-run food truck.

The council unanimously selected the earth tone color palette.

At its evening meeting, young representatives of the Glendale YMCA’s Youth & Government program invited the council and public to join them on Thursday, Feb. 6, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Central Library conference room for legislative night, the night they debate the bill they will advocate for when they head to Sacramento as part of the government education endeavor.

City Clerk Ardashes “Ardy” Kassakhian announced an opportunity to see and test the new voting machines that will be used in the upcoming March election. Those who would like to try the new machines can do so every day through Jan. 25 until 8 p.m. on weekdays in the community room of the Glendale police headquarters at 131 N. Isabel St.

Local and national parks organizations are joining together for a Service Day for Our Parks on Saturday, Jan. 25, starting at Brand Park, 1601 W. Mountain St., at 8 a.m. for greetings and orientation, then on to “restoring native habitat Brand Park in the Verdugo Mountains and the proposed ‘Rim of the Valley’ expansion of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.” According to the event sponsors, “You’ll be supporting wildlife and improving the park’s resilience to wildfires and climate change so that future generations can continue to enjoy a place that could someday be part of our national park system!”

Lunch and a closing ceremony are set for noon.

After hearing a lengthy, detailed explanation of the limited authority local municipalities have in the regulating of telecommunications facilities and devices, and after more than an hour of impassioned public testimony, the council voted unanimously to attempt to limit new 5G towers from being installed near the city’s schools and parks by including them in areas deemed “non-preferred” for zoning purposes.

Mayor Najarian voted in favor of the motion while warning against raised hopes,

“We’d be fooling ourselves – these companies will jump through these hoops like a dog at the Westminster [Kennel Club] dog show. It doesn’t please me, but I’m an attorney. He’s a TV host. The statutes are ice cold against us.”

A motion passed instructing staff to come back with specifics to implement the council’s intent and decision.

“I know it’s apples and oranges,” Quintero commented, “but once upon a time there was a company called Monsanto and they created Agent Orange … the FCC has no interest in potential future health risks.”