The Imaginary Landscape

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Rick Caruso Making More Enemies





A couple of weeks back, Rick Caruso won a fight that would allow him to build the “Americana on Brand”—a Grove-like life style center—across the steet from the Glendale Galleria owned by General Growth.

Now he’s at it again. This time, it’s the Shops at Santa Anita, an outdoor mall with a man-made lake. And the owner he’s upsetting is not General Growth, but the brand happy developer, Westfield.

To show that he’s a good guy, Caruso has invited residents to share their input. He is also offering tours of all of his retail centers (The Grove, The Commons, etc). He will provide free transportation and a free lunch to boot. Click here to register.

More info on the project click here.
More renderings click here.
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Self-preservationWestfield pushes for Santa Anita Park's historic status
By Gene Maddaus Staff Writer

ARCADIA - The Westfield Group has nominated Santa Anita Park to the National Register of Historic Places, claiming development plans by Caruso Affiliated constitute a potential threat to the racetrack.

The track was built in 1934. In its heyday, it was a haunt for millionaires and movie stars. Although the derby-day crowds have dwindled, the track remains one of the city's most cherished structures.

The track's owner, Magna Entertainment Corp., has partnered with mall developer Rick Caruso in an effort to bring back the crowds. Caruso plans to build the Shops at Santa Anita, an 800,000-square-foot outdoor mall, in the track's south parking lot.

Caruso has spoken fondly of the track's architectural features and vowed to preserve it while introducing horse racing to a younger generation.

The Westfield Group owns the Westfield Santa Anita mall, which is adjacent to the track. Westfield has strongly opposed the Caruso mall, backing a group called Arcadia First! to amplify community concerns about the project.

Among other issues like traffic and parking, some residents have worried that Caruso's project will block views of the historic grandstand.

"No less than 75 percent of the people who have joined Arcadia First! have expressed a concern over the protection of that historical view," said Arcadia First! Executive Director Bernetta Reade.

In filing the application for national landmark status, Westfield stressed the potential threat to the track.

"Once those buildings are built, they will be there forever - and will forever negatively impact the quality of life of our neighbors in Arcadia," said Westfield spokeswoman Katy Dickey, in a statement.

Magna would have to agree in order for the track to be placed on the register. Placement on the list would not restrict development on the site.

"The purpose of the designation is to highlight the historic significance of the property," said Christy McAvoy, the historic preservation consultant hired by Westfield to write the 200-page application.

Other sites in the area that are listed on the National Register include the Rose Bowl and the Gamble House in Pasadena, the Edwin Hubble House in San Marino, and the Upton Sinclair House in Monrovia.

Caruso has sought to build support for the Shops at Santa Anita by associating his project with a revitalization of the track. Buttons supporting the mall read "YES Santa Anita," and Caruso advertising has shown racing images.

Westfield has released polling data showing that those residents who are most protective of the racetrack are also the most hostile to Caruso's project. Neither Caruso nor Magna would comment Wednesday on Westfield's action.

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