for housing and street closures on the site, and the project's
The council also introduced ordinances for zoning changes and
final approval of the development agreement. It will vote on those
items at next week's council meeting.
"I'm satisfied, having heard all of the comments, all of the
evidence, that this project is the right one for the community,"
Councilman Gus Gomez said. "It's the better plan environmentally, and
it's the better plan economically."
Gomez and his colleagues heard plenty of comments. The meeting
lasted until 3:30 a.m., with about five hours of public testimony
sandwiched between presentations and votes.
The approvals give Caruso exclusive developing rights to the
15.5-acre site, on which he plans to build a high-end commercial and
residential complex with a 1.85-acre park.
"The best part about the meeting is not only the amount of support
we had, but the diversity of support we had -- from residents to
businesses on Brand [Boulevard]," Caruso said. "Nobody on Brand came
out opposing us. We had four very strong votes on our behalf, five on
the [environmental impact report], which was terrific. Now we're just
going to focus on next Tuesday. It's a big night from the zoning
Caruso named the project the Americana at Brand. It stretches from
Central Avenue to Brand Boulevard, and from south of the Glendale
Galleria to Colorado Street. It will include 100 condominiums, 238
apartments, 50 high-end retail stores and five restaurants.
Caruso hopes to begin building this summer and open the project in
2006, but before he can get started, the city must implement
necessary zoning changes to allow for six-story residential buildings
in the area. The council will vote on those changes next week.
The changes need unanimous approval because General Growth
Properties, which owns the Galleria, led a protest to the changes,
triggering an obscure charter clause requiring council unanimity.
Zoning changes normally need four-fifths approval from the council.
Councilman Frank Quintero opposes Caruso's proposal, and the
protest gives him the power to veto the zoning changes.