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.
“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.
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
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
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
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.”