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Council Rules Out Relocating Historic Goode House in Park

April 11, 1991|LORI GRANGE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The landmark 103-year-old Goode House will not be moved from its original site and relocated in Brand Park, the Glendale City Council voted Tuesday.

But the future of the historic house remains unclear. The council appears split over a proposal by a private developer who wants the city to give him tax dollars to save the deteriorating building and transform it into part of a senior citizens housing complex.

Tuesday's action was the latest chapter in the tangled history of the Edgar D. Goode House at 119 N. Cedar St. The Glendale historical landmark is the city's last example of Queen Anne/Eastlake architecture at its original site. It has been threatened by demolition for years and is nearing collapse.

Developer Joe Ayvazi, who owns the property, has proposed a plan in which the city would pay between $370,000 and $720,000 of a roughly $3.85-million project to restore the house. A 40-unit senior citizens apartment complex would be built around it and some of the units would be reserved for low-income residents.

The senior housing plan moved slightly forward Tuesday when the council rejected 4 to 1 a proposal by Councilman Larry Zarian to move the house to Brand Park.

Zarian said he is opposed to giving a city subsidy to the developer because he believes that the public will not have access to the landmark if it is the centerpiece of a private housing complex.

Mayor Ginger Bremberg, who voted to keep the house at its original site, said she too will vote against using tax dollars for the project. She said she believes that the historic structure is too dilapidated to repair or move, and wants to see it demolished.

"Why spend money to save something that's going to collapse anyhow?" she said.

Councilman Carl Raggio disagreed, saying the house could be beneficial to senior citizens. He said he will vote to contribute a subsidy.

"This could be a source of entertainment and pride" for the residents, Raggio said.

Council members Richard Jutras and Eileen Givens are undecided.

If the council does not vote to contribute at least $370,000 for the project, Ayvazi will either have to sell the house or scale back plans, said Marlene Roth, a consultant to Ayvazi.

The two-story Goode House is named after its original owner, Edgar D. Goode, a leader in Glendale's 1906 incorporation drive. For years, it has been the focus of a protracted battle between the owner, city officials and preservationists.

Ayvazi, who bought the three lots that include the house in 1986 and 1987, initially planned to develop a U-shaped office building around it while maintaining the house as a historic monument. Other plans included using the house for offices and building senior citizen apartments around it.

After the Glendale Historical Society challenged both plans, Ayvazi in mid-1989 offered to sell the property to the city for $1.3 million. The City Council took no action on the offer.

Then in early 1990, a deal fell through between Ayvazi and two businessmen who wanted to purchase the site, restore the house and build senior citizen apartments around it.

Under Ayvazi's latest proposal, the city would allocate $370,000, which would be used to restore the house as a recreation center in the project and to reserve 10 units in the 40-unit development for low-cost housing. Madalyn Blake, director of community development and housing, said her department supports contributing up to $720,000 to allow all 40 apartments to be subsidized.

Units would then rent for about $540 a month instead of the $635 per month the developer wants, Blake said.

"Personally, I think it will be a really nice project," she said. "You'll have a historic house, it will be restored and you'll have a full senior citizens center."

The city subsidy would come from property tax funds set aside for low-cost housing from revenues generated by the city's downtown redevelopment project. State law requires the city to set aside 20% of its portion of property taxes in redevelopment areas for low- and moderate-income housing, Blake said.

Senior citizens living in the complex could act as caretakers and docents at the house, offering tours for schoolchildren and others, Roth said. The house could also be opened to the public once or twice a month, she said.

The historical society has endorsed the idea. Society members said if the house is restored, it would be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

It would not be eligible for the register if it were moved or demolished, society members said.

"This would allow the historic house to have a life of usefulness and keep its historic integrity," Sue Lazara told council members. "It's one of a kind."

The city two years ago approved Ayvazi's renovation project, but the developer was unable to obtain enough funds to pay for it. He then sought to demolish the house but learned that it would be too costly and time-consuming to obtain the permits required to raze a historic structure, according to Roth.

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