An Armenian youth and sports organization has announced plans to build a $7-million, 7-story office building in Glendale that is to be the organization's headquarters as well as a source of income for building a sports stadium and training facility for the group.
The Armenian General Athletic Union and Scouts expects to generate more than $200,000 in annual revenue by renting space in the planned 60,000-square-foot office building. The organization plans to use only 5,000 square feet of the building for its own offices.
Last week, officials of the 70-year-old organization made the final payment on the 20,000-square-foot building site at Jackson and Colorado streets. The organization paid $1.7 million for the land.
The scouting organization's leaders say a sports facility is desperately needed by the more than 800 athletes and 600 scouts in the organization's Glendale chapter. They expect to be able to buy a site for a stadium in Glendale within five years after the office building is completed.
"The whole purpose is to have the kids meet each other and associate, so the closer they are the better it is," said Michael Piranian, president of the organization's Athletic Council. "The idea is to have something, so these kids can get it together, keep them off the streets."
Currently, the organization rents space in various Glendale sports facilities to practice and compete with 10 other chapters in the state .
The organization, whose scouting program is affiliated with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, was established in 1918 in Istanbul, Turkey. It has about 20,000 members worldwide and about 3,400 members in the United States.
The group, known as Homenetmen--an acronym for its name in Armenian--receives much of its funding from Armenians throughout California, many of whom grew up as members of the youth organization.
Began With $900
When an anonymous donor contributed $900 to the organization's Glendale chapter in July, 1986, its leaders began discussing ways to raise the estimated $15 million to $20 million necessary to build the sports stadium. After deciding to construct an office building to generate revenue, the organization's leaders--many of whom are successful Armenian businessmen in Glendale--held fund raisers to buy land.
At a June event attended by Gov. George Deukmejian and Karekin II, the spiritual leader of the Armenian church, more than $600,000 was raised in one night.
A Glendale architect, Marc Grigorian, has donated his services to design the building and oversee its construction.