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Looking Forward to 2010

With the memory of 2009 fading under the anticipation of fresh start, here’s a list of people and developments that we expect to claim headlines in 2010.

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Kenneth Village, a one-block commercial district of 40 businesses, has faced a difficult year as consumers reduce spending and increasingly switch to box stores or other discount retailers for their needs.

Some merchants in the district could close if spending in the area doesn’t improve.

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The City Council will revisit the citywide smoking regulations, which have yielded only 15 citations since taking effect at the end of 2008.

City officials plan to recommend that the council remove the law’s warning requirement.

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The Exchange on Maryland has struggled to maintain tenants since its 1989 debut and will lose its major draw, Mann Theaters, in 2011, but city officials are hoping a plan to transform the development into an entertainment hub could lead to a revival.

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The Redevelopment Agency will present a proposal to create an entertainment district along a two-block stretch of Maryland, although some question whether any businesses can flourish on the strip.

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City officials will likely unveil a revamped plan to give Glendale a brand and identity in an effort to differentiate it from neighboring cities.

The Redevelopment Agency agreed to terms with a marketing firm that will present a strategy in 2010 to help distinguish the city in the minds of tourists and regional residents.

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High rises in Glendale and Burbank remain riddled with empty floors as vacancy rates approached 20% in each city during 2009.

City officials and brokers are working to attract new tenants at a time when few businesses are expanding.

But an oversupply of empty office space could put downward pressure on prices and create trouble for owners of new properties who remain on the hook for hefty construction loans.

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Businesses surrounding offices with high vacancy rates may also continue to struggle as fewer workers means less daytime foot traffic.

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Competition has remained high for the few homes that have been placed on the market, a development that has helped to bring up homes prices.

But most homeowners have avoided selling their houses unless they absolutely need to, a development that could change if unemployment rates decline and more certainty returns to the market, experts say.



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