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Developer wants to expand Americana at Brand shopping center

Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso wants to expand his Americana at Brand shopping center in Glendale by taking over two adjacent properties, including a hotel.

In a letter to the city’s redevelopment agency released Monday, Caruso declared his interest in taking over the Golden Key Hotel and a vacant retail building at the southern edge of the Americana. He hopes to buy the properties from their owners but might ask the city to acquire them by eminent domain and sell them to him.

“My hope is that we can just sit down and figure out a right price on a private basis and not make it a public process,” Caruso said in an interview.

Hotel owner Rakesh “Ray” Patel couldn’t be reached for comment. Patel filed a lawsuit against the redevelopment agency and Caruso in 2008. He claimed that his business was damaged by noise, dust and traffic associated with construction of the mall, thereby causing it to lose its Best Western affiliation, and that noise and operations at the mall such as trash collection continue to hurt business.

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The mall is ready to grow, Caruso said.

“We have large interest from retailers we cannot accommodate at the Americana and we would like to expand,” he said.

In place of the hotel built in the 1960s and the brick retail building dating to the 1920s, Caruso would build as much as 140,000 square feet of retail space for up to three tenants.

“We expect to invest tens of millions of dollars in this project,” he said. “While other projects in Glendale have stalled or have simply died, we are prepared to invest more, and to do it now.”

Caruso said his proposed development would generate $800,000 a year in new tax revenue for the city and create new jobs. It could be built without taxpayer subsidies, he said.

The three-story, 55-room hotel on Colorado Street had an assessed value of $4.9 million last year, according to public records. The 10,600-square-foot retail building once used as a recording studio was assessed at $259,000. It is owned by the Youseff A. Malek Family Trust, according to real estate data provider CoStar.

roger.vincent@latimes.com


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