Why You Want to Develop Housing in the East Valley
The East San Fernando Valley presents tremendous opportunities for developers, particularly in Glendale and Burbank. Speaking at our 3rd Annual Future of the Valley event on the East Valley panel discussion last week, Cusumano Real Estate CEO Michael Cusumano (right) said residential is a slam-dunk in Burbank, where his firm is developing its Talaria at Burbank. “This is an incredibly strong market because of the employment base compared to residences,” he said. In addition, the city has about 110,000 jobs and only 44,000 residents, so employers are having to import employees.
Fifield Cos COO Kevin Farrell (left) said his company builds housing where there are jobs. He noted that Glendale has excellent demographics, with 25- to 35-year-old renters working in well-paying entertainment and tech jobs—similar to Santa Monica. Fifield's West Coast affiliated Century West Partners is developing a massive mixed-use of its own on a full city block in Downtown Glendale.
Lee & Associates managing partner Jim Fisher said Glendale’s strong job market is driving residential, with young professionals working in creative jobs. And while Glendale is geographically a little out of the way, Jim noted that access to the Metro Red Line provides Glendale an advantage. The city will also be the first LA stop on the state’s planned high-speed train system.
Related Group SVP Michael Fleischer is also high on the Glendale market. With what Rick Caruso has done at Americana at Brand, the city's downtown has become a very attractive place with a great future, he said, noting that people want to live here because there’s nightlife.
Kevin also pointed out that Glendale is an easier place to do business than LA, as the city is aggressive in moving forward with developments. He said Glendale does not rubber-stamp projects, but “those guys are open for business—the building department is hands on.”
Panel moderator Richard Close, an attorney at Gilcrist & Rutter PC, also informed the audience that Gov. Jerry Brown is setting-up a quasi-redevelopment agency to assist developers with assembling land, which has become a difficult project since the agencies were disbanded. He also noted that opening more mass transit would benefit housing production.