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OK, now what happens?

April 01, 2004

Josh Kleinbaum

This much is known -- later this month, horses and acrobats will take

over most of the near-vacant 15.5-acre lot in downtown Glendale, site

of developer Rick Caruso's now-defunct Town Center proposal.

But what will happen after Cavalia, a Cirque du Soleil-type show

with horses, is done with the site?

Councilman Dave Weaver might have the best answer: "Who the hell

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knows?"

City officials were scrambling to pick up the pieces one day after

a $264.2-million proposal for the Town Center, a commercial and

residential development in downtown Glendale, fell apart.

"We're going to have an all-hands meeting next week and assess all

the different aspects of the site," City Manager Jim Starbird said.

"We have a lot of detail things to think about."

Some council members are already thinking about those details.

Councilman Bob Yousefian is not convinced Caruso is gone for good,

and thinks the project could be resurrected, even though Caruso said

Wednesday afternoon that he had no interest in working with the city.

"Sometimes when you're upset, you don't make the best decisions in

your life," Yousefian said. "I know I've done that."

If Caruso doesn't come back, Yousefian said plenty of developers

would be interested in the land, echoing Mayor Frank Quintero's

sentiments.

Quintero wants to pursue the proposal submitted by General Growth,

owners of the Glendale Galleria. Its plan includes more residential

space, less retail, and keeps Orange and Harvard streets open to

vehicular traffic. The Town Center's environmental impact report

included General Growth's proposal as an alternative, and City Atty.

Scott Howard said some of the data from that report could be

recycled, saving the city some money down the line.

But Weaver and Councilman Rafi Manoukian blame General Growth,

which opposed Caruso's proposal, for the project's demise. They said

they would not support General Growth's proposal.

"If I get a letter from General Growth saying they want to develop

the project, I'll be ripping it up and throwing it in the trash,"

Weaver said.

While Quintero and Yousefian mull over possible plans, city staff

is preparing a menu of options for the council.

"It's only been less than 12 hours, and it will take us a week or

so to have them all down," Director of Development Services Jeanne

Armstrong said Wednesday.

For his part, Caruso did not seem too upset. While vacationing in

Hawaii, he said a neighboring city already has called about building

a similar project. He declined to say which city.

"It's a big loss to Glendale," Caruso said. "They're loaded with a

bunch of real estate, they've got no plans for it, and no developer

in his right mind is going to go through what we did. The big

winners, whether we do something with them or not, are the

neighboring cities."

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