“This is a great opportunity that we can help support our retailers in one of the most trying economic climates that we’ve ever seen,” Galleria general manager Ryan Hursh told the City Council on Tuesday.
Under the proposed zoning change, the advertisements, which would face Brand Boulevard, Colorado Street, Central Avenue and Broadway, must promote products sold within the two properties. Some of the proposed ads are already up under a temporary permit approved by the City Council last year.
“While this is a step in a new direction, we are still maintaining some of the important principles that guide our zoning and land use regulations,” said Community Planning Director Hassan Haghani.
While some residents expressed concern that the proposal went against the city’s efforts to remove a number of billboards, City Council members said the proposed advertisements were part of a unique situation.
“I do think they are a different animal,” said Councilwoman Laura Friedman. “I think we can still continue to take down billboards around the city if these are allowed.”
Judee Kendall, executive director of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, said the proposal could energize the downtown area and lauded the former rivals for working together.
“We believe that the effort shows a great partnership between the Galleria and the Americana, one we wouldn’t have seen a few years ago,” she said.
Still, several on the council members said they were concerned about three of the proposed advertisements — two signs on the closed pedestrian bridge that crosses Central Avenue and one on the elevator tower at the Americana. —
But representatives for the retail behemoths said both spots were essential to the project penciling out.
“Quite frankly, without the elevator sign we can’t afford to do it,” said Rick Lemmo. “It’s not financially feasible.”
City Council members on Tuesday agreed to revisit the issue next week when the final ordinance comes back for a vote. They also expressed interest in discussing a possible revenue-sharing formula between the city and the two malls for the large advertisements.
“We are talking about a major shift in concept here,” said Councilman John Drayman. “What is the public benefit going to be?”