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Glendale Halts Demolition of Public Service Building


The demolition of Glendale's 61-year-old Public Service Building has been halted while its historic value and the costs involved in preserving it are explored.

Glendale's three-member Environmental and Planning Board last Thursday unanimously ordered the preparation of an environmental impact report on the building after the Glendale Historical Society and the Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects objected to its proposed demolition.

The board--which consists of Glendale's planning director, public works director and city attorney--rejected a staff proposal that the building be preserved only in photographs and videos.

The panel's decision does not guarantee that the building will be saved, said David Bobardt, a city planner. But he said the environmental study will evaluate the building's historic significance and look at ways to keep it in public or private use.

He said the study will take about eight months to complete before it is reviewed again by the environmental board. The Glendale City Council will then decide whether to raze the building.

The Public Service Building, at 119 N. Glendale Ave., was designed in Art Deco style by Alfred E. Priest, a prominent Glendale architect. The six-story structure, built of steel-reinforced concrete, now houses about 175 city employees.

In October, the City Council awarded a $20-million contract to build a larger public service building to be named after former City Manager C.E. (Gene) Perkins. City officials said the older building would be torn down and the site turned into a public plaza.

In a letter opposing the demolition, Glendale Historical Society President Andrea Humberger said the building is eligible for local landmark status.

"The city has provided no compelling reason, economic or use-related, for why the building must be demolished," she wrote.

Bobardt said construction of the Perkins building will proceed during the study of the older building.

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