But for Americana’s stalwart supporters at City Hall, the report only buttressed the pitches made in the early part of this decade when the proposal from Caruso Affiliated first hit Glendale.
“I always thought it’d be a winner. I still think it will. To me, it’s a big winner,” said Councilman Dave Weaver, who got flak from Americana opponents for accepting thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from developer Rick Caruso during the protracted battle to see the proposal through City Hall.
In the years that followed the City Council’s decision in 2001 to select Caruso’s initial design, the city became embroiled in a fight over whether the 900,000-square-foot mixed-use behemoth would do more harm than good to central Glendale and smaller businesses in other parts of the city.
While the Americana has been open for about six months, the Redevelopment Agency report was only based on the second-quarter reporting period between April and June, and even then, the open-air development only opened for business in May.
City officials cautioned that they would need at least two years of firm data before any trends could be identified, but the report indicated that Americana’s ability to generate foot traffic and outside investment had lessened the blow of the major economic downturn.
Sales tax revenue at the Americana for the May to June period was $252,667. A “straight projection” of that figure for the year would beat the 2004 forecast by $150,000.
The report also found that the increased value of the Americana could mean at least a $2.05 million annual tax infusion for city coffers, 42% more than expected.
And, in addition to the myriad of new businesses and developments attracted to the area since the Americana’s opening, vacancy rates in the downtown area have fallen by about half, according to the report.