General Growth might be surprised on election day

June 18, 2004

As one of the individuals who has spoken out in favor of the

Americana at Brand, I feel I must respond to the letter from Steven

A. Wells (News-Press June 4).

We are not, as Mr. Wells implies, blindly pining for the Americana

at Brand in some type of altruistic stupor. Rick Caruso is one of the

busiest and most prolific developers in the country. The reason why:

He has a proven track record of producing high-quality, desirable


projects that work in harmony with the communities in which they are

situated. The Grove at Farmers Market is a shining example of this,

but also the Commons in Calabasas and the Promenade in Westlake

Village exude the same quality and functionality that are a Caruso

hallmark. Caruso has been tapped to build another mixed-use

development near another Southern California landmark, Santa Anita

Racetrack in Arcadia, and he is moving forward with another

large-scale project in Marina del Rey.

As a successful businessman, Mr. Caruso is not going to get

involved in a project in which he doesn't make money, but that is not

his sole interest. He takes pride in his work and works with the

local community, as he has with Glendale by including a residential

component, eliminating billboards and adjusting the retail mix to fit

the desires of residents.

As far as the comments by others to boycott the Glendale Galleria,

I now agree that the notion is misguided. I have come to the

conclusion that it will only serve to penalize the retailers who are

not directly associated with General Growth and to penalize Glendale

with reduced sales-tax revenue. In addition, the Glendale Galleria

draws most of its customers from outside of Glendale. These outside

residents will most likely not have a clue about the actions of

General Growth, nor will they tend to care if they don't live here,

making an effective boycott impossible.

Closing Harvard and Orange streets is absolutely necessary to the

success of the Americana at Brand. While closing streets will always

produce an increase in traffic to surrounding venues until people's

driving patterns adjust, we must ensure that the Americana at Brand

is a truly pedestrian-friendly haven. Allowing traffic to funnel

through the middle of it will not only increase noise within the

development, but it will also encourage drivers to use these streets

to cruise through to have a look rather than parking and walking in.

The result will only be increased traffic backed up onto Brand and

Central, then Colorado and Broadway.

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