The chief executive of Glendale Galleria’s corporate parent this week said the mega mall will be renovated this summer, an announcement that came less than a year after the company emerged from bankruptcy.
The news also came just weeks after major competitor Rick Caruso announced that he had bought the large Nordstrom space at the Galleria, and that he would move the high-end retailer next door to what will eventually be his expanded Americana at Brand.
On Wednesday, Sandeep Mathrani, chief executive of General Growth Properties, said the decision by Nordstrom to abandon the Galleria in 2013 was the result of his company dropping the ball during its bankruptcy from April 2009 to November 2010.
Nordstrom “felt it was very important to their business to have a renovated Glendale Galleria,” Mathrani said in a conference call with investors. But General Growth was not in a position to invest in the 36-year-old shopping destination.
“If I was to look back at history, it was one of the unfortunate results of being in bankruptcy, being cash constrained and not willing to spend on a renovation,” Mathrani said.
In March, Caruso announced that Nordstrom would be a key part of an expansion of the 15.5-acre Americana in 2013, but pledged to find retailers for the newly vacated space, but also called for an overhaul of Galleria II — the part of the mall between Central Avenue and Brand.
Mathrani, who took the reins of General Growth Properties in January, said the company is planning to renovate the Galleria this summer, but offered no details. He also said he is open to working with Caruso on Galleria II.
The Galleria and Americana, he said, should be viewed “as one retail area. We are going to do things that are completely win-win.”
Mathrani also said the company is “well on its way” toward leasing the Mervyns space on Brand Boulevard, which has been empty for more than two years, although he did not reveal the possible tenant.
Judee Kendall, executive vice president of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, said she hoped both companies would complete the renovations as soon as possible.
An upscale business, such as a Crate & Barrel, would hopefully occupy the former Mervyns site, she added; otherwise that part of the mall might be reworked with a restaurant and other uses.
“We need something that brings life to that corner, because right now it’s just a big wall,” she said.
Mathrani said the Galleria continues to do well overall, with remaining anchors Macy’s, Target and JCPenney doing “astronomical volume.”
“The mall does over $600 a square foot. It’s over 90% leased, and we’ve added new tenants,” Mathrani said.
The Galleria recently signed a deal with women’s clothing store Love Culture, he said, and other deals are in the works.