It has been 17 years and 283 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.
Two new items have been added to the city council agenda for Tuesday, October 13, 2015. They were added just before the close of business on Friday, October 9, 2015. They are agenda items 58 and 59. Both items are related to one another and call for city council approval the purchase of 99 acres at 91st Avenue and Bethany Home Road for $15,526,542.00 from the Pendergast family. The Pendergast family deserves the city’s thanks. They have lived in Glendale for generations and have roots here as well as a genuine love for the city. They have been involved in the life of Glendale for many years and have contributed their time, talent and money for the benefit of the city. I, for one, thank them.
I congratulate Interim City Manager Dick Bowers and the city council for this action. In this instance, the city has been proactive in solving a long standing problem, namely that of being required to build a city parking garage at Westgate for the benefit of the Bidwill family. The city is required to provide 6,000 parking spaces for football games as well as major events that occur at the University of Phoenix stadium. As land was consumed at Westgate for new development the proscription to provide those spaces became more and more difficult forcing council discussion to consider building the facility. With purchase of the Pendergast land there will now be more than enough land to satisfy that requirement without the need to build a garage.
That garage would have cost the city far north of the $50M acknowledged as the construction cost. Paying $15M for the land plus the cost of constructing a parking area on a portion of the land is far less costly than at least $50M for the garage. Voila! Suddenly there will be no need to build a Taj Mahal of a parking garage. The parking spaces will not consume the entire 99 acres. It is not known as of this date how much land would be required.
The balance of the undeveloped land provides the city an exciting opportunity to control a portion of its own destiny. With regard to the development of the portion unused for parking, the city might consider partnering with a Class A private developer. There are many advantages to doing so. Among others, it could mandate final approval for any development that might be proposed. If it is developed commercially I would suggest that with over 2,500 existent apartment units (with another 4,000 approved) and over 4,000 homes close by, the city should use its best efforts to create a neighborhood shopping district with a grocery store and dry cleaners. There is no grocery store in west Glendale and those sales tax dollars go to Phoenix and Peoria. The closest dry cleaners is minimally 4 miles away in other West Valley cities.
No matter what the future holds for this land, kudos to all those involved with a special and most warm thank you to the Pendergast family.
© Joyce Clark, 2015
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