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Builder Seeks to Convert Historic House to Office Use

May 12, 1988|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | Times Staff Writer

A Glendale developer is proposing to preserve a 100-year-old landmark Victorian house by converting it into office space and building senior citizen housing around it, according to plans announced Wednesday.

Joe Ayvazi of the Cedar Broadway Partnership in Glendale plans to build 40 small apartment units around the historic E. D. Goode house at 119 N. Cedar St.

The 2-story house, the only one of Queen Anne/Eastlake architecture remaining on its original site in the city, is vacant and has been threatened with demolition for years. It once was the home of Edgar D. Goode, said to be the "father of Glendale" because he led the petition drive that resulted in the city's incorporation in 1906.

Threats that the house would be demolished led to the creation of the city's Historical Preservation Commission in 1985.

Ayvazi is asking for a zoning variance in order to convert the house into office space for his real estate company and other light-use commercial businesses. The house is on a two-lot site in an area zoned for high-density residential use.

Ayvazi, who owns a third lot next to the Goode house, also needs a variance to build 40 apartment units. City regulations normally would permit construction of only 30 units. The one-bedroom units proposed by Ayvazi would be 500 square feet in size, while city building codes require a minimum of 600 square feet of floor space.

Horseshoe Shape

Ayvazi proposes to build an apartment complex on all three lots, in a horseshoe shape around the Goode house. Four bungalows on the property would be destroyed.

Marlene Roth, a planning consultant representing Ayvazi, said the number of people living in the proposed development would be fewer than in a typical apartment complex because the units will be designed for single seniors. John McKenna, city planning director, on Wednesday heard arguments for and against granting a zoning variance but said he will not decide until the issue is brought before the historical commission and the City Council.

Calvin Rodriquez of El Cajon, who co-owns the house with a brother, attempted to sell the property more than three years ago to a developer who planned to demolish the house and replace it with a 3-story apartment building.

That project was brought to a halt by the City Council, which adopted regulations prohibiting demolition or alteration of more than 30 buildings considered to be historically significant.

Another developer then proposed to move the Goode house to a new site and convert it into offices. That plan also was defeated last year after residents in the neighborhood where the house was to be moved complained that any commercial development was incompatible with their area.

Members of the Glendale Historical Society also urged that the house be preserved on its original site. With its Victorian fish-scale siding and bay windows, it is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, provided that it is not moved, the society's members say.

Ayvazi obtained an option to purchase the Goode house property last year. He initially proposed to building an office building around the old house. But Roth said that plan has since been changed in order to minimize the need for parking spaces for any new development.

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