Town Center Would Benefit Glendale

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el-vaquero-staff-writer/" class="creditline">GEGHARD ARAKELIAN
El Vaquero Staff Writer

The Americana, better known as the Town Center, is a beneficial urban project for Glendale that might not replace vacant lot of blighted land in Glendale’s downtown area because of vague and illegitimate accusations.

Voters will decide the fate of the project on Tuesday.

For the past four years the Glendale City Council has negotiated with Caruso Affiliated, a private company that has proposed building the $264-million project as a residential, retail and entertainment complex surrounding a park.

This anticipated project could create an estimated 2,500 jobs during its 18-month construction period and an estimated 1,760 permanent jobs when it is completed. The grounds would be maintained by Caruso Affiliated.

Street modifications that would serve traffic mitigation would be paid by a redevelopment grant and the Town Center’s own revenues would offset tax increases local property owners. On top of that, Glendale would earn an estimated $3 million yearly from the project in sales and property taxes.

So why would anyone living in Glendale not want an urban project that would be specifically designed for the community and would also serve the people? Who wouldn’t mind an annual $3 million for the city and a new place to go to for shopping and entertainment?
One can certainly say that those voting against the Americana will be doing so for all the wrong reasons.

Fears of traffic gridlock and negative campaigning by those opposing the project could effect the results of the election.

The main opposition, accusations presented by General Growth, the owners of the Glendale Galleria, are not true and have only been implemented to block this great opportunity for the city.

So let’s start with the most controversial issue: the land investment and the deal with Caruso Affiliated.

A good number of people have asked why Caruso Affiliated has not purchased all of the land to build the Town Center. After all, Caruso is he developer. This has led some people to believe that Glendale is actually giving its land away for free.

The opportunity to buy all of the land was not presented to Caruso Affiliated since the city of Glendale wanted the developer to build in accordance with the people’s desires and the city’s needs.
If Caruso Affiliated were allowed to buy all of the land then the company could build whatever it wanted with the land without the concerns of the citizens.

By having Caruso Affiliated purchase just a portion of the land instead of all of it both the city and Caruso Affiliated will enter into profit sharing.

Caruso Affiliated will be building on land owned by the city, Glendale will gain 50 percent of the earnings Caruso Affiliated will be making from the Town Center.

Though this will take place once Caruso Affiliated has made its $168 million back within an estimated 30 years it will mean additional profits on top of the $3 million Glendale will have already earned aking annually.

To consider such a deal a waste of money, as those who oppose the town center claim, is illogical. Glendale will obviously be gaining from such a deal for years to come.

The next issue is traffic. Rumors are that nothing will be done to deal with the increased traffic in Glendale once the Town Center is complete.

Downtown Glendale is already crowded, but measures will finally be taken to help traffic flow if the Town Center is built.

Caruso Affiliated will be offering $2 million of its own money along with a parking complex that will offer 2,700 free parking spots to the public as a part of its deal with the city of Glendale.
Modifications will also take place on Brand Boulevard, Colorado Street and Central Avenue, the streets surrounding the Town Center, in order to help traffic flow.

Brand Boulevard will be expanded by two new lanes and a new street will connect Orange Street to Brand Boulevard.

Intersections will also be modified if the Town Center is built to accommodate the traffic. “Fourteen intersections will be improved,” said Joe Zago, manager of the Yes on A, B, C campaign.

For the past few years the only thing we have seen changed in traffic lights is the tint of color so as to better see them in the dark. Perhaps with $2 million going for the expansion of dense streets, which will come only through the construction of the Town Center, traffic will finally flow smoother in downtown Glendale.

People who are against the Americana also accuse this project of damaging local businesses. This is also not true. Small businesses are still lined up along the property where the town center is to be. Along with the small businesses, there stands a Rite Aid and Big 5 sporting goods store.

The area in which these big and small businesses are run has been deemed a redevelopment zone for the past 30 years. If the Americana is approved, they will have to move and the city will purchase the stores for their full value.

A redevelopment zone means that the zone is meant for a drastic change that can occur at anytime; this is a concept any store owners should be aware of when choosing where to set up their businesses.
Registered voters of Glendale will be able to vote for or against the Town Center on Tuesday in a referendum funded by General Growth after the city council had approved the complex.

Voting against the new Town Center would send years of negotiations to waste.

Though the Town Center will obviously benefit Glendale, adding to its revenues and providing new opportunities for dining, shopping and entertainment, opponents continue to stand behind their their vague, illegitimate, accusations.

Arakelian is a former employee of the Americana project.