If in the coming weeks the city decides to go to court to take Patel’s land and turn it over to Caruso, as it did with nearby properties seven years ago, experts say Patel has long odds of successfully challenging the move.
On Friday, city officials recommended Caruso’s expansion plan in a report to the Redevelopment Agency, noting that a larger Americana stands the best chance of improving the downtown area and expanding the city’s retail base.
“It is extremely hard to overcome this if it is already in a redevelopment area,” said Nowland Hong, a land-use attorney who has worked for Los Angeles County. “The powers of redevelopment are pretty encompassing.”
Caruso is proposing to invest up to $50 million to build 135,000 square feet of new retail space on two properties — Patel’s 55-room hotel site and an adjacent vacant building Caruso acquired last month. Caruso would also widen Colorado Street and create a landscaped pedestrian entry at the western edge of what is now a 15.5-acre mixed-use shopping and residential center.
Caruso, who built the Grove in West Los Angeles and several other regional shopping centers, said his plan will generate an estimated $800,000 a year in new sales tax receipts for Glendale. The city estimates it will generate closer to $700,000.
Caruso spokesman Matt Middlebrook said the plan is consistent with the Glendale Redevelopment Agency’s longstanding goals of increasing pedestrian activity, generating new revenues and giving the city’s central core a face lift.
He pointed to the more than $3 million in sales tax revenue generated by the Americana since it opened in 2008, becoming a gathering place and economic linchpin of the city.