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Glendale Galleria owners launch major makeover of mall

Changes will include the addition of a Bloomingdale's department store and reconstruction of the Central Avenue Plaza, creating an outdoor dining and gathering place.

April 30, 2012|By Roger Vincent, Los Angeles Times
  • Glendale Galleria is undergoing its largest makeover since the mall opened in the 1976.
Glendale Galleria is undergoing its largest makeover since the mall opened… (General Growth Properties )

Owners of the Glendale Galleria have launched a massive makeover intended to update the regional shopping center in downtown Glendale.

Improvements to the 1.5-million-square-foot center will include the previously announced addition of a Bloomingdale's department store in the space formerly occupied by Mervyns. The Bloomingdale's store is set to open next year.

Other changes will be the most comprehensive since the mall opened in 1976 and "nothing short of dramatic," General Manager Larry Martin said.

Among them will be reconstruction of Central Avenue Plaza, creating an outdoor dining and gathering place and making a more inviting and upscale main entrance from Central Avenue, the street separating the mall from the Americana at Brand shopping center, Martin said.

Inside, brick walls will be re-clad with white stucco to help lighten the interior public spaces. Escalators will be relocated to improve circulation, and a new elevator will be installed. Chandeliers will be hung in the court areas. New tile and stone floors are being installed.

Restrooms will be renovated, and a family restroom, a common amenity at other malls, will be added. Nearly all the work will be done at night to avoid inconveniencing shoppers, Martin said.

He declined to say what the improvements will cost, but public documents filed by the mall's primary owner,General Growth Properties Inc., say it expects to spend $57.5 million on the project slated to be completed by fall 2013.

Also at that time, Nordstrom Inc.is expected to close its department store in the Galleria and open a new store in the Americana. Developer Rick Caruso, who owns the Americana and the Nordstrom building in the Galleria, said he has not decided what store will replace Nordstrom in the Galleria.

"It's great news that General Growth is going to upgrade the mall," Caruso said. "It's clearly a result of the success of the Americana."

When Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom are both open next year, the ability to "cross shop" between the two malls, Caruso said, "will be the best of any region in Southern California."

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Deluxe retirement community being built in Costa Mesa

Construction is underway on a $62-million senior housing complex in Costa Mesa called Vivante on the Coast.

The 185-unit retirement community being developed by Nexus Cos. at 1640 Monrovia Ave. is intended to provide a resort-style environment for tenants ages 62 and older.

"We've incorporated many of the new ideas in fitness, healthcare, technology and lifestyle that appeal to the demands of our growing aging population, especially here in Orange County," said Curt Olson, chief executive of Nexus Cos.

The gated campus will have a fitness and physical therapy facility with an indoor saltwater pool, outdoor courtyards and rooftop decks. Culinary options will include fine dining, a cafe and a lounge. There will be a 24-hour concierge and complimentary local transportation.

Other luxury touches include a spa, a yoga deck, a serenity garden and reflexology foot path, putting green and boccie ball court.

There will also be a secure 40-unit facility on the property to provide specialized care for residents withAlzheimer's, vascular dementia,Parkinson'sand other diseases.

Vivante will be the first new retirement community built in the Newport Beach and Costa Mesa area in 15 years, Olson said. It is expected to be completed in fall 2013. Monthly rents, which include meals and other services, will run from $3,990 to $7,590.

City department rents space in L.A. Times building

The Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System has agreed to lease a floor in a vacant downtown Los Angeles office building owned by The Times.

LACERS, as the city department is known, will rent 35,000 square feet for 10 years, according to real estate brokerage Studley Inc. The department will move its headquarters to the fifth floor of 220 W. 1st St. this summer from a nearby building in Little Tokyo where it is spread over a similar amount of space on five floors.

LACERS provides retirement benefits to the civilian employees of the city.

Terms of the deal with Los Angeles Times Communications were not disclosed, but the landlord has been asking for about $1.50 per square foot a month, according to real estate brokers not involved in the transaction.

The six-story building at 1st Street and Broadway was completed in 1973 and served for decades as the headquarters of Times Mirror Co., parent company of The Times and other media outlets and companies.

Times Mirror was acquired by Tribune Co. in 2000, and administrative functions were moved to Tribune's Chicago headquarters.

The lease to LACERS "is consistent with our strategy to maximize our assets and to increase revenue, which ultimately supports our core journalistic mission," said Chris Avetisian, chief financial officer of Los Angeles Times Media Group.

roger.vincent@latimes.com

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