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Agency Takes First Steps for Galleria's Expansion

August 20, 1987|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | Times Staff Writer

Plans to build a third wing of the Glendale Galleria moved a step closer to reality this week with action by the city Redevelopment Agency to acquire land south of the shopping mall.

The Redevelopment Agency on Tuesday voted unanimously to begin condemnation proceedings on shops and lots at 143-147 S. Brand Blvd. and 113-119 W. Harvard St. The agency also authorized the opening of negotiations to purchase the multistory Pacific Bell building at 124 S. Orange Ave.

The agency has talked for years of extending the mall south of Galleria II to Colorado Boulevard between Central Avenue and Brand Boulevard. However, Susan Shick, deputy director of redevelopment, said the city only recently contacted several major retail chains to learn if they are interested in the expansion.

Shick said the city already owns a sizable amount of land in the two-block area. She said details will be developed by early next year.

In redevelopment projects such as the Galleria, the city acquires land and then sells it at a low price to developers. The city then benefits from more sales and property taxes.

Seeking 'High-Fashion Retail'

Interest in expanding the mall was sparked this year when city officials began looking for a tenant to fill the space left vacant when Ohrbach's department store closed July 15.

Shick said the city has since decided that the empty store is too small for most major retailers and will be converted into smaller shops. However, Shick said representatives of several chains, including Neiman-Marcus, have expressed interest in opening outlets at the mall.

Shick said the city hopes to bring more "high-fashion retail" to the existing mall and to provide a main entrance into the shopping center from Brand Boulevard.

Officials earlier had proposed incorporating a major hotel in the mall. However, Shick said this week that the hotel proposal has been dropped. The hotel, instead, will be built on Central Avenue north of the Ventura Freeway. Negotiations on that proposal are nearing completion with Red Lion Inns.

Daniel W. Donahue, chairman of Donahue-Schriber, developers of Galleria II, said it is still too early to confirm plans to build a third wing.

Shick said the owners of the Brand and Harvard properties, Todd and Tricia Mills and Howard and Candace Neese, started efforts to sell their land to the city almost a year ago.

But she said the agency and the owners have been unable to agree on the value of the property. The condemnation proceedings may lead to a court settlement.

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