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Nordstrom to move from Glendale Galleria to Americana at Brand shopping center

Developer Rick Caruso woos the popular retailer away from its home of nearly 30 years. Nordstrom will build a new three-level store on land at the Americana.

March 17, 2011|By Roger Vincent, Los Angeles Times
  • An artist's rendering shows the planned expansion of the Americana at Brand shopping center in Glendale. Nordstrom is expected to occupy the site between Barnes & Noble and the cafe.
An artist's rendering shows the planned expansion of the Americana… (Caruso Affiliated )

Developer Rick Caruso has wooed Nordstrom away from the rival Glendale Galleria and will bring the department store to his Americana at Brand shopping center in fall 2013.

To accomplish the move, Caruso is buying Nordstrom's building from the Seattle retailer. Although most of the Galleria is owned by General Growth Properties, it's common for major department stores to own their own real estate within a mall.

Caruso wouldn't say how much he is paying for the Nordstrom building, located in a wing across Central Avenue from the original mall. Nordstrom will build a three-level store on land at the Americana it will lease from Caruso's firm, Caruso Affiliated. The site is occupied by the Golden Key Hotel and a retail building, both recently purchased by Caruso.

"While Glendale Galleria has been a good home over the years, we think moving into a brand-new store at the Americana at Brand will help us do a better job of serving our customers," said Erik Nordstrom, president of stores for Nordstrom Inc.

The new Nordstrom is to enclose 135,000 square feet, slightly less than the 140,000 square feet it occupies at the Galleria. It will operate in the Galleria until the new store is ready.

Caruso said he hoped to work with General Growth on improvements to the Galleria that might dramatically change its appearance. The part of the mall where Nordstrom is located "is a very enclosed brick building from an era gone by. I think you could open it up," he said.

Caruso, who also owns the outdoor Grove shopping center in Los Angeles, envisions a mix of uses at a remodeled Galleria including new stores and restaurants in an outdoor setting, and possibly a hotel. Caruso Affiliated may help pay for improvements to the Galleria.

"We are prepared to be involved financially and from a vision standpoint," he said.

General Growth fought construction of the Americana in court and on a public ballot, but the bad blood is gone, Caruso said.

"I am excited about working with General Growth," he said. "They have come through their difficulties and the past is the past."

Besides, an improved Galleria will draw more shoppers to downtown Glendale, Caruso said. "The stronger the Galleria is, the better it is for the Americana at Brand."

General Growth declined to comment.

The sale is "extremely unusual" and might eventually help the Galleria, said George Whalin, a Carlsbad, Calif., retail consultant not involved in the deal.

"Obviously, they don't want to lose Nordstrom, but if they can benefit themselves in the process, more power to them," he said.

"The Galleria is not a bad shopping center," Whalin added, "though most centers that are a few years old need some updating."

Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian said the Nordstrom sale and possible changes to the Galleria are "great news. I couldn't have painted a better scenario as mayor for an improvement of that area."

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