Gung-ho Web site questioned

first_imgGLENDALE – City officials are curious about a Web site advertising a massive condo and hotel high-rise project for downtown – because they haven’t approved the project yet. The idea behind the Web site, which is connected to the real estate firm CB Richard Ellis, is to attract potential developers or investors. But city officials say the online marketing campaign gives the wrong impression: that the proposed Gateway to Glendale project has the go-ahead from City Hall. And they made it clear that their approval for the 1.4-million-square-foot project is anything but a done deal. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinals“I don’t have any problems with private transactions, but my issue was the way it was advertised,” said City Councilman Bob Yousefian. “It gave the illusion of (city) approval of this project, and they haven’t even walked in through the first gate yet.” The project, presented at www.gatewaytoglendale.com, includes three towers at Brand Boulevard next to the on-ramp to the 134 (Ventura) Freeway. Each tower could be 22 stories tall, according to the Web site, and the project as a whole would have 750-900 condos, a hotel and retail space. Yousefian said a note on the Web site from Glendale City Manager Jim Starbird to the private team behind the effort could give the impression the city backs the project. One line from Starbird posted online states, “A mixed use project of the proposed caliber would add presence on the freeway and to the skyline.” Starbird sent the letter after seeing drawings for the proposed project months ago, along with City Council members. “I was asked for some general views, and I think my views as they’ve been indicated are accurate,” Starbird said. “But I guess I’m a little concerned that maybe someone reading (the Web site) might take away a little bit more than was my intent.” The team behind the project, which is looking for an experienced residential development company, said whatever gets built will be up to city officials. “The pictures that we have there, that could all change,” said Laurie Lustig-Bower, a real estate broker involved in the project. “It could look like something completely different.” The idea behind the project is to put more condos downtown so residents can walk to nearby shops and even to work. Ralph Cimmarusti, who has an ownership stake in the project, said it would give the city bookends. “Americana (at Brand) at one end and this project at the other end, which we think would really enhance the small businesses along Brand Boulevard.” Americana at Brand, also known as the Town Center, will cover about 900,000 square feet and should open in 2008. Gateway to Glendale still needs an environmental impact report, which could take more than six months, Starbird said. It’s unclear when the group behind the project will submit a formal proposal to the city. As envisioned, it could dump too much traffic onto city streets, City Councilman Ara Najarian said. “If you didn’t know any better,” he said, “it would sound as if this project or whatever they have pictured is fully entitled and the city is fully behind it and all you have to do is start digging.” [email protected] (818) 546-3304160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img