Unclassified Info: Checking out the less-beaten path

August 01, 2011|By Gary Huerta

I was on my way to Home Depot last Saturday when I happened to find myself on the corner of California and Central avenues. It’s not normally the route I take, but I’m the kind of person who often deviates from my usual path — a habitual pattern of always seeking a more efficient solution and not wanting to be predictable in case my siblings decide to pool their money together and hire a hit man.

But that’s another story.

At this particular intersection, I noticed two of the corners were dirt lots surrounded by the obligatory chain-link fence. At first I didn’t think much of it. But then it occurred to me that I had no recollection of what had been on those two corners prior to their current weed tenants.

As I searched my brain, I gazed northward on Central. I then saw the windows of Cort Furniture brightly painted with “Going out of Business” and “Everything Must Go”.


The cumulative evidence of failing businesses saddened me. Not that these three pieces of property are the only signs of economic hardship around Glendale. Two prime corner business locations at Broadway and Brand — the former Borders and Mervyn’s — now sit empty, the latter since 2008.

Many businesses have left the Glendale Marketplace. And no doubt there are other vacant properties and offices in the surrounding area.

I’m sure much of it has to do with natural selection. Borders was the victim of a society that reads less and buys more books over the Internet than from brick-and-mortar establishments. And Mervyn’s clearly failed to provide the types of goods and service people were willing to support en masse.

Then there’s the Americana at Brand and Rick Caruso. It’s the bright, shiny penny that has been grabbing a large share of consumer’s attention. I’m not indicting Caruso for developing it or for his desire to expand it all the way to Temecula. He has every right to put up his vision of what people want and if it works, what can you say?

I concede his iteration of a shopping center with al fresco dining and a choreographed fountain is slightly more appealing than the one across the street with a handful of frogs that spit at passersby.

That said, does the allure of a singularly successful shopping area in Glendale help or hinder the city as a whole? Is the Americana on the way to becoming the only game in town?

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