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Mall to maintain façade of bygone era

New development at the Americana at Brand will incorporate a nod to Glendale's history.

April 25, 2011|By Bill Kisliuk, bill.kisliuk@latimes.com

A slice of Glendale history will survive when the Americana at Brand unveils its new Nordstrom department store.

Addressing concerns from the Glendale Historical Society, Americana developer Rick Caruso on Monday announced that he has agreed to use the façade of the former recording studio at 230 S. Orange St. in a pedestrian passageway next to Nordstrom.

In February, Glendale Historical Society President John LoCascio wrote a letter to the Glendale Redevelopment Agency, saying the one-story brick building is a rare local example of the Mission Revival style, with concrete-capped buttresses and a curved parapet.

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He also suggested the building be placed on state and local historical registries.

LoCascio’s letter arrived just as Caruso was acquiring the building and the neighboring Golden Key Hotel as part of an expansion planthat includes a new Nordstrom, landscaping and other retail.

Caruso on Monday announced he will incorporate the façade into an outdoor walkway from Colorado Street into the Americana, with Nordstrom on one side and Barnes & Noble on the other. The brick building’s steel sash windows will display photos from the Glendale Historical Society collection. The society will also fill lighted display cases to be installed nearby to promote exhibits about Glendale history and architecture, according to the announcement.

“The façade will become part of a whole historic display,” LoCascio said, who added that Caurso approached the historic society after hearing about their concerns.

LoCascio said the Nordstrom footprint was too big to allow for preservation of the entire building, but that the solution “keeps the wall very near its original location and restores the original materials.”

“Fighting the issue would have benefitted no one,” he said.

In announcing the plan, Caruso said in a statement the façade will be a “charming addition” to the passageway.

The 7,500-square-foot building was completed in 1928. It first was a UPS facility that served Brand Boulevard department stores, according to Henry David, who sold the building to Caruso. It later housed the David family’s display rack manufacturing business before being used as a recording studio for more than 20 years.

It has been unoccupied since 2008.

Caruso acquired the building in January for $4.1 million. He subsequently settled a lawsuit brought by the building’s last occupant, Backroom Entertainment Inc., that claimed construction of the Americana drove the studio out of business. The amount of the settlement has not been disclosed.

A month later, Caruso ended a high-profile battle over the Golden Key Hotel, acquiring the property for $16.2 million. He then unveiled a blockbuster deal in which he acquired the Nordstrom building within the Glendale Galleria as part of a plan to move the high-end retailer to an expanded Americana.

Caruso has said he plans to find other retailers to occupy the current Nordstrom space, with construction on the new location slated to be finished fall 2013.
 
 

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