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Giant Complex to House Carnation Corporate Headquarters

February 25, 1988|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | Times Staff Writer

Glendale city officials Tuesday agreed to sell a prime two-block site in the downtown redevelopment area for $12 million to a major developer who plans to build the largest office complex in the city.

The proposed 20-story development at 800 N. Brand Blvd., one block north of the Ventura Freeway, is to become the corporate headquarters of the Carnation Co.

The Glendale City Council, acting simultaneously as the Redevelopment Agency, unanimously approved an agreement to sell the site to Lincoln Property Co., a leading national developer based in Texas with offices in Los Angeles.

The city must first acquire the entire site, which is valued at slightly less than $12 million, according to the city's consultants, Keyser Marston Associates. The city has the power to purchase the site through eminent domain proceedings, if necessary, and resell it to a developer.

The Sierra Land Group of Glendale, which owns the largest portion of the site, received preliminary approval from the city four years ago to build a 12-story office development on the site. But that project never was built. Sierra last year revised their proposal to build a larger complex, but their plans were rejected.

The complex proposed by Lincoln will include 525,000 square feet of office space and provide 2,100 new jobs in the downtown area, said Susan Shick, redevelopment director. A multilevel parking garage will have space for more than 1,600 cars. The site is bordered by Brand, Monterey Road, Louise Street and the Verdugo Wash south of Glenoaks Boulevard.

Architect Scott Johnson of Pereira Associates, the project designer, said a public plaza "larger than a football field" will be built at the corner of Brand and Monterey. Johnson said the project will serve "as the gateway to Glendale."

Landscape architect Richard Thomas of Glendale said the plaza will be divided into a series of zones--including a sculpture court entryway from the parking garage to the plaza featuring pieces of art and a public podium area--to resemble a European park. The plaza will feature a uniquely designed fountain with nozzles that spray a fine mist into the air that evaporates before falling.

The Carnation Co. plans to move about 1,000 employees from the headquarters it has occupied in the mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles since 1949, according to company officials.

Carnation's corporate offices will be located on the top floors of the complex and a private plaza will be built behind the office tower for company functions and employee dining, Johnson said. The company also will have a test kitchen on the ground floor as well as an auditorium which may be used by community groups, he said. A helicopter landing pad is proposed to be built on the roof of the tower.

Glendale Federal Savings and Loan, which has its corporate headquarters immediately south of the proposed project, also is participating in the development and will lease space, Shick said.

The city and Glendale Federal own a portion of the site along with other property owners. As the largest owner, officials of Sierra Land had argued that they should be given priority to develop the site. But city officials in August turned down Sierra's bid in favor of the larger and more experienced Texas development company, Lincoln Property.

Glendale Federal has agreed to sell its land for the project but the city still has to acquire the Sierra property, Shick said. Sierra has its headquarters in a three-story office building at the corner of Brand and Monterey--the site of the proposed plaza.

Construction on the project could begin in September, Shick said.

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