What we have before us is a divine opportunity to leave a legacy to future generations of Glendale. What we have is a great opportunity to build a lasting treasure on this "blighted land."
Why should we stop the loss of this lifetime opportunity?
First, 15.5 acres of prime downtown land, the heart of Glendale intended for the Town Center, is being gifted to a developer who says this land has no value to him:
* 8.5 acres gifted to the developer with full title;
* 4 acres leased to the developer at $1 a year for 95 years;
* 2-acre park underneath, except for the top 4 feet, gifted to the developer with full title;
* 1 acre retained by the city to serve the developer's project.
Second, this project does not bring a net financial benefit to the city. The city's contribution is $77.1 million today. The projected tax revenues of $109 million over 30 years or $3.6 million per year shown in the Caruso ads has a net present value of $47 million-a full $30 million short of the city's investment. The city's own internal audit report of March 29 says, "The profit-sharing mechanism of this project is not projected to be 'triggered' over the life of the agreement and therefore no income to the GRA is being forecasted at this time."
Furthermore, due to the overall enclosed design of the project-closed streets, high walls, parking design-the Caruso (Retail) Center is not conducive to drawing shoppers to other existing businesses.
The city's independent Speer Retail Analysis report says this project will siphon off approximately 25 percent from Glendale's existing small business-owners, 10 percent of which is from retailers on Brand Boulevard. This translates to about $10.75 million per year loss in sales to them.
Finally, the proposed project is not a Town Center but a fancy retail center which, 20 to 30 years from now will be just another old retail center, akin to a roofless Galleria albeit with parks and fountains.
Inadequate parking is another issue. This project provides for only 2,700 parking spaces only 475,000 square feet of retail/commercial development plus 425,000 square feet of residential space. This includes 14 to 16 movie screens, restaurants, and other shopping facilities, plus 338 condos and apartments.
The Caruso Retail Center is not the right project for our Glendale Town Center. We can do better, starting with an open park from Brand Boulevard to Central Avenue. This is part of the vision of our Greater Downtown Strategic Plan. Let us keep the community's vision for a true Town Center.
Let us have a Town Center that belongs to Glendale! But first, we have to remove this "give-away" retail center from the table. Vote no on Sept 14.