Americana valued at nearly $480M, far more than projected

The Americana at Brand generated about $1.16 million in sales tax revenue in 2010, 19% below expectations, but the mega-retail development has far exceeded property value projections, city officials reported Tuesday.

The Americana’s assessed value in fiscal year 2011-12 was $479.9 million, more than double what had been projected, according to staff report presented to the Redevelopment Agency. The higher-than-expected valuation generated about $3.67 million in tax revenue for the agency.

“There were a number of individuals that doubted whether this development would generate any revenue and support itself and at this point it’s doing more than that,” Councilman Rafi Manoukian said.

In addition, in 2010 the Redevelopment Agency reaped about $95,000 from a shared revenue agreement with the Americana’s paid parking structure.

The economic report echoed a similar performance for 2009, when the outdoor, multi-use development beat property tax projections, but fell short on the sales tax side.

City Manager Jim Starbird said he believed sales tax revenue figures at the Americana would increase as the economy recovers.

“This will be a very bright spot in our future,” he said.

Despite the sales tax data, officials said the Americana has succeeded in attracting shoppers to the downtown area, benefiting other businesses not associated with the outdoor mall.

“Many developments are riding on the heels of the Americana at Brand,” Philip Lanzafame, chief assistant director of community development, said during the meeting.

But in areas where elements of the Americana directly compete with other local businesses, Americana has shown its power. Mann movie theaters at the Exchange across the way closed after it was unable to compete with the Pacific Theaters at the Americana.

Another Mann Theaters location at the Marketplace, now called Vintage Cinemas, is trying to find a lower pricing model that will enable it to survive.

Still, Lanzafame told the agency that anecdotal evidence shows the Americana’s presence has encouraged more businesses to come to downtown Glendale. He pointed out that businesses have told staff they acquired property across the street, and even across the freeway, from the Americana because they were drawn by the development’s success.

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