But that city, too, is set to change, said Caruso, president and chief executive officer of Caruso Affiliated.
"Look, it's a whole new city in terms of the quality of retail," he said. "Whoever would have thought Barneys would come to Glendale?"
Barneys New York CO-OP— a casual offshoot of the upscale department store — is one of 75 retail tenants planned for the area, along with women's fashion icon Kate Spade and bookstore Barnes and Noble.
They are among the attractions that Caruso says will bring shoppers to the Americana and other downtown shops, propelling the entire downtown economy.
Even Galleria owner General Growth Properties, which hotly contested the Americana — and has since been slapped with an antitrust lawsuit filed by Caruso Affiliated — will get a slice of the pie, Caruso said.
"We're going to be the best thing that's ever happened to them," he said.
General Growth representatives could not be reached for comment.
After breaking ground in June 2006, an army of up to 1,000 construction workers, architects and project managers who are on-site daily have started to give shape to the Americana.
The project is on pace to meet its April 2008 opening, Caruso said.
The complex's underground parking structure — which includes a complex roadway that offers access to Brand Boulevard and Central Avenue — is finished, as is the first-floor retail space of its seven mixed-use structures.
Soft dirt and mounds of steel and lumber blanket two future roadways inside the property, including Excelsior Boulevard — a brand new street that enters from Brand Boulevard, between Harvard Street and Colorado Street, and exits on Colorado Street.
Atop the concrete first floor, passersby on Brand Boulevard, Colorado Street and Central Avenue can now see wooden skeletons of the property's 100 condominiums and 228 apartments.