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Competition not a concern

September 22, 2004

Mark R. Madler

Officials in the city are not expecting much change now that the

Americana at Brand retail and residential center has been approved by

voters in Glendale.

What the Americana brings to Glendale with an open-air commercial

center is already available in the city, the officials said, and the

challenge of the new center in a neighboring town can be met by

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attracting and retaining quality retailers.

"My own personal feeling is that it's so far down the road it's

not too much of a concern," Burbank Chamber of Commerce President

Bill Jacot said. "The commercial and retail climate here is good."

Even with approval by voters Sept. 14 and the Glendale City

Council in the spring, legal challenges remain to the Americana that

will keep construction from starting until mid-2005. Developer Rick

Caruso expects the commercial and retail center to take two years to

build.

Although a divisive issue in Glendale the past several months, the

Americana was not on the radar screen of the chamber and had not been

the subject of discussion, Jacot said.

Mayor Marsha Ramos said the city certainly needs to be aware not

only of how the Americana project is proceeding, but overall

commercial trends, such as whether shoppers want an indoor mall over

an open-air shopping area.

Fortunately for Burbank there are both, in downtown and the Media

City Center mall and the Empire Center, both Ramos and Jacot said.

"Our mall has a more connected look to the downtown village area,"

Ramos said.

James O'Neil, executive vice president of Crown Realty &

Development, the owner of the Media City Center mall, said that the

Americana development will create a broader interest in the area. A

24-hour lifestyle community is already emerging with new residential

and retail developments in and around the downtown area, O'Neil said.

"The $30-million renovation of Media City Center and the addition

of new tenants like Bed, Bath & Beyond and P.F. Chang's is only

enhancing this status," O'Neil said. "We clearly see Media City

Center developing as a landmark for the growing popularity of the

downtown Village."

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