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City worried about mall sale

Jackson Bell

The Media City Center has a new owner and it’s already back on the

market.

The mall’s previous owner, Center Trust Inc., was acquired by Pan

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Pacific Retail Properties Thursday. But the new owner is already

looking for another buyer of the mall, much to the chagrin of city

officials.

Even during early negotiation talks in November, Pan Pacific was

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clear about its intention to sell the mall. But Community Development

Director Sue Georgino is concerned the mall will be deprived of

desperately needed “aggressive reinvestments” to boost its

performance.

“The longer the mall is in limbo, the worse it is for us,” she

said.

Pan Pacific is the largest owner and operator of grocery stores in

the United States. For that reason, City Manager Bud Ovrom said the

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mall is an oblong fit in the company’s profile.

A company spokesman was not available for comment.

Georgino’s two main concerns regarding the center’s fate are

potential buyers don’t understand the severity of the necessary

improvements and buyers won’t be willing to invest the needed capital

for renovations.

Ovrom is concerned plans to add a P.F. Chang’s restaurant and to

restore the mall’s facade and first floor will be abandoned.

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“If it finds a company that wants to move forward with [the mall’s

progress], that is a good thing,” he said. “But if they find a buyer

that just wants it for its assets and runs it like it currently is,

that is not a good thing.”

He added that although most of the mall’s retail businesses are

performing well, another aspect that needs improvement is its

interior small-shop spaces.

The Media City Center includes the mall as well as the stores

lining North San Fernando Boulevard to the Virgin Megastore and IKEA

Burbank. It opened in the summer of 1991 and consists of 40 acres, or

about 1.5 million square feet.


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