Americana fills two vacancies

Restaurateur Tancredi DeLuca walked purposefully around his new Glendale delicatessen last week, tasting prosciutto as it came off the slicer, joking with employees in their first day on the job and talking business in Italian with executive chef Piero Topputo.

DeLuca was celebrating the grand opening of his new delicatessen, DeLuca's, next door to his Amici restaurant. It is one of two recent openings at the Americana at Brand.

American Eagle Outfitters, specializing in denim jeans and casual wear, recently took the space formerly occupied by Martin & Osa, a spin-off that failed to catch on nationally.

"It is one of the spaces where we've been trying to figure out what to do," said Jennifer Gordon, senior vice president for marketing at Caruso Affiliated, which owns the Americana. "American Eagle … is a very popular, very broad brand that appeals to a lot of demographic profiles."

The retail space at the Americana is now about 96% leased, and the 254 apartments in the mixed-use center are roughly 98% leased, Gordon said.

The 100 condos at the development, which were slow to sell when the center opened in 2008 and were reduced in price from an original $700,000 to nearly half that, are now 68% to 70% sold, Gordon said.

On the whole, the retail sector has begun to pick up at Caruso properties, such as the Americana at Brand and the Grove in Los Angeles, she added.

"From last year to this year, we've seen really strong single-digit increases," Gordon said. "Some stores are experiencing increases as high as 11 to 17%."

On Monday, Deluca showed off the wares at the deli, which include sandwiches, salads, Italian specialties, imported pasta and oils and pre-made lasagna, ravioli and sauces.

"We are trying to create the ability for the customer to come in and pick it up, and then go home and finish it off," he said.

The new deli provides a more affordable and casual alternative to Amici, while allowing him to use the same kitchen to serve both businesses, DeLuca said. He is seeking a permit to sell wine, as well.

The Americana at Brand remains in negotiations for the restaurant space at the corner of Brand Boulevard and Colorado Street.

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