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Thursday, Feb 29, 2024


PAT KRAMER Contributing Reporter A once “forgotten” and generally neglected industrial area near the Ventura and Golden State freeways is seeing a resurgence, thanks to a booming entertainment industry that is overflowing out of Burbank and spilling into Glendale. KABC-TV Channel 7 has announced plans to build a 143,000-square-foot studio on eight acres on Rodier Drive off industrially-zoned San Fernando Road, also known as the San Fernando Corridor. On nearby Flower Street, DreamWorks SKG is developing a new animation campus that will feature 330,000 square feet of office space complete with its own 700-space parking garage. “The expansion of the entertainment business is fueling growth in the industrial corridor as it is in the entire area,” said Jeanne Armstrong, director of Glendale’s Redevelopment Agency. “What we are seeing is a reuse of the properties in the industrial area. For example, warehouses are being upgraded to be used as office stock.” Sharon Beauchamp, executive director of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, described the corridor, which is populated mostly by manufacturing and light industrial firms, as Glendale’s “forgotten area.” Over the years, the city has concentrated its redevelopment efforts in more high-profile areas, such as Brand Boulevard, where people come for entertainment or to shop or eat. “In the industrial-manufacturing area, you don’t have much of that. People go there to work and then go home,” said Beachamp. “So it hasn’t gotten the attention over the years that it should have to enhance it and keep it up to date.”In an effort to improve the area, the Glendale Redevelopment Agency in 1992 earmarked 750 acres of industrial land in the corridor for redevelopment, allowing the agency to use a portion of property taxes to help fuel redevelopment. But it was the recent growth in the entertainment industry that gave the corridor its biggest boost. Arnold J. Kleiner, president and general manager of KABC 7, said the corridor’s central location was a big attraction for his company. “We had been looking for a site for four years. I think we looked at close to 60 sites in and around the city. Our prerequisite was freeway access, so we could get to our [news] stories as quickly as possible, and helicopter access.” Also, the move would allow the station to centralize its operation, which is currently spread out in seven buildings, he said. Construction of the studio is slated to begin in the first quarter of 1999, with completion set for fall of 2000. Architect Cesar Pelli’s plans will consolidate the station’s sales, news, programming, engineering, business and promotions departments under one roof. The station is planned for a parcel within a 96-acre industrial park in the corridor called the Grand Central Business Centre, which was purchased last year by Walt Disney Co., KABC’s owner, for $140 million. Originally the Grand Central Airport, the center was developed in the ’60s as an industrial park. Disney occupies about 60 percent of the 2 million square feet at the center with its Imagineering division, which designs the company’s theme-park attractions. Michael Davin, associate vice president at Grubb & Ellis Co., said that with Disney’s purchase of the property, Glendale’s industrial market has become quite a bit tighter. “There used to be some properties available from time to time; now that’s not the case,” said Davin, adding that the vacancy rate has dipped to between 5 percent and 6 percent. “When you look at the Grand Central Business Centre, taking that out of circulation lowers the industrial base for the city,” he said. “The nice thing is that they all seem to have pretty good parking, which is not the case in other areas of Glendale.” Office space, meanwhile, accounts for about 30 to 35 percent of the property within the corridor, with the vacancy rate around 9.3 percent, said Duane Cody, an associate director at Cushman & Wakefield Inc. DreamWorks, on the other hand, has nearly completed construction of its animation campus, which Armstrong said will add a nice touch to the area. “The buildings are connected with walkways, arcades, and a little river which runs through it,” she said.With the two high-tech entertainment companies literally across the street from one another, the focus is now shifting back to this long forgotten area, originally developed as a manufacturing-based industrial district in the ’40s. As part of a push to encourage companies to locate in the redevelopment area, Glendale’s redevelopment agency has been working one-on-one with prospective businesses to make sure their needs are met and help streamline the permitting process. For instance, the agency arranged for a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power water treatment plant to be moved to make way for DreamWorks. With these added efforts, the agency hopes to forever change the landscape of its once forgotten industrial corridor.

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