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Round and round on carousel’s fate

Ryan Carter

Despite rumors to the contrary, there are no plans to get rid of the

popular carousel at Media City Center, according to mall officials.

Not yet, anyway.

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“We are taking all things into consideration, but nothing’s been

announced because no decision has been made,” said Jim O’Neil, senior

vice president of development for Irvine-based Crown Realty, which

acquired the mall in March.

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O’Neil acknowledged that rumors have been swirling that the

merry-go-round on the mall’s first level was going to cease operating

soon. He has even received phone calls about its rumored demise.

But O’Neil said that mall officials are considering several

options in planning the second phase of mall redevelopment, and

removing the carousel is one of them. But that did not mean they have

decided to close the ride.

“At this point, there is no plan to get rid of it, though there

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are lots of rumors,” said Brian Gartland, marketing director of

General Growth Properties, which manages the mall. “The mall’s owners

are trying to do everything they can to keep it.”

Much, though, could depend on how the first level of the mall is

redesigned. Crown Realty has begun an aggressive campaign to create

an upscale mall design they hope will attract more customers.

“Drawing national retailers is the goal of redevelopment,”

Gartland said, adding that the size of a new retailer coming in

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during the project’s second phase could determine if the carousel is

removed or reduced in size.

Much of the first floor of the mall is unleased and undeveloped

space.

Officials want to sign a large, nationally known retailer to lease

the space and begin construction in the second quarter of 2004.

Phase one of the project continues to progress. Officials have

already announced the construction of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro

restaurant, which will flank the Magnolia Boulevard entrance with

another, yet-to-be-announced restaurant. It will also include outdoor

dining and the use of a third lane on Magnolia for valet parking. The

redesign of the mall will also include a name change, O’Neil said.

“We want to make it a much more inviting type of look,” said

O’Neil said. “A lot of people in Burbank have been frustrated with

the mall, and we want to give the every opportunity to not leave town

and stay here.”


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