include four restaurants and several other food stands.
"I know the city's going to get a lot of tax revenue, but they
don't care about existing businesses," said Vildoza, who has owned El
Morfi Grill for 14 years. "For regular people, it's going to be
great, but not for existing businesses."
On Tuesday, Glendale residents will decide in a citywide special
election whether or not they want the Americana. One issue voters
must grapple with is how the project will affect Brand Boulevard
businesses. Are the project's benefits, including a 1.85-acre park
and high-end retail shops and restaurants, worth the cost to local
merchants, who could lose much-needed revenue?
City officials insist the Americana will have only mild short-term
effects and no long-term effects for Brand Boulevard businesses. Last
fall, the city hired a consultant, Bill Speer, to analyze the project
and the expected impact.
Speer said Brand Boulevard businesses could lose up to 8% of their
sales to the Americana immediately, but they would regain that
business after two years. In a best-case scenario, businesses would
not be affected.
"I'd say there's less than 50% probability that the worst-case
(scenario) will be the result," Speer said. "It's very clear from
looking at the sales-tax data over the course of the last 10 years,
when new projects have come on, Brand Boulevard merchants have been
very creative in addressing that competitive threat. It's very likely
going to be in the middle to no impact."
Speer's report is based on analyzing the effect of other new
projects on the boulevard, including the Marketplace and the Fashion
Center. He said shops on Brand Boulevard, especially restaurants,
have loyal clientele that will not be led away by a new project.
City officials say the long-term benefits to Brand Boulevard make
up for any short-term losses, as they have since establishing a
redevelopment zone in downtown Glendale in 1972. They argue that
merchants were afraid of competition from the Glendale Galleria when
it opened in 1975, but Brand Boulevard has blossomed in the past 29