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Commercial Real Estate

High Hopes for Glendale's Next Big Mall

September 01, 1998|BRAD BERTON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Plans for downtown Glendale's next big shopping center--scheduled for city-owned and privately owned land next to powerhouse regional mall Glendale Galleria--got a crucial go-ahead from the city's redevelopment agency last week.

The agency agreed to contribute city land valued at about $18 million and to cover some of the construction costs of the $190-million Glendale Town Center, to be built by Galleria developer Donahue Schriber.

The 15-acre open-air center would include 400,000 square feet of store and restaurant space, a multiscreen cinema, a 300- to 350-room business hotel, a 2-acre city park and a 3,000-car parking garage.

The Town Center site is at Colorado Street and Brand Boulevard next to the 1.36-million-square-foot Galleria, which Donahue Schriber, a Newport Beach-based private real estate investment trust, has operated since completing its first phase in 1976.

The Glendale Town Center, unlike the Galleria's two enclosed phases, will be an open-air configuration featuring the city park and its public plaza. The tenant mix will focus on restaurants, "lifestyle" retailers and entertainment outlets, including a 3,000-seat Mann Theaters complex, Donahue Schriber said.

The city has focused on Glendale Town Center as the centerpiece of its downtown redevelopment plans. One key aim is to encourage people to shop not just at the Galleria but also at other downtown shopping complexes such as the Exchange and the new Glendale Marketplace.

Veteran Los Angeles retail real estate broker Dick Carter of Beitler Commercial Realty Services said Glendale Galleria is "a great mall in a great city for business," but cautioned that Donahue Schriber and Venice-based architect Jerde Partnership need to be careful not to pull too much traffic out of the first two enclosed phases into the planned open-air phase. Open-air configurations are gaining in popularity in warmer climates.

Glendale Galleria has been a powerful magnet for the downtown district, ranking among the nation's most productive regional malls, with 22 million shoppers visiting each year and spending about $440 million. However, many of downtown Glendale's non-mall retail businesses and property owners have been struggling.

About 18 months ago, city staffers and a selection committee chose Donahue Schriber as the most qualified among the developers competing to build Glendale Town Center.

Before architectural plans can become final, the developer and redevelopment agency must approve the ownership participation agreement spelling out the project's financial details.

Construction is scheduled to begin in about a year.

Dallas-based lodging company Patriot American Hospitality, in partnership with Hospitality Worldwide Services, will develop and operate Glendale Town Center's full-service Wyndham Hotel.

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