City says yes to Caruso's Nordstrom plans

Glendale officials on Tuesday approved plans for the so-called “missing piece” at the Americana at Brand — a 122,000-square-foot Nordstrom along Colorado Street.

Earlier this year, billionaire developer Rick Caruso announced plans to move Nordstrom from its site at the Glendale Galleria II — a major coup that would strip his main competition of yet another huge anchor tenant. Caruso has so far declined to discuss potential replacements for the current Nordstrom building, which he owns.

“This will be a brand-new, first-class store operated by a truly great retailer who has had a long history in the city of Glendale,” Caruso said during the meeting. “It will be one of their newest stores constructed on the West Coast in a few years.”

He declined to disclose the cost of the project.

Nordstrom’s new digs will be built on the 1.1-acre parcel where the Golden Key Hotel and adjacent single-story brick building to the north now sit. Those will be demolished to make way for a new three-story building between Colorado Street and Caruso Avenue.

According to plans approved by the Glendale City Council and Redevelopment Agency on Tuesday, the existing Guess store on Caruso Avenue will be relocated and the space will be part of an espresso bar at the entrance of the new Nordstrom.

Above the espresso bar will be open-air seating for the Nordstrom Café.

The section of Orange Street within the Americana will be closed and converted into a pedestrian paseo, lined with planters, posters and festoon string lighting crisscrossing overhead.

Carolyn Jones with Callison Architecture said the site presented several design challenges, including how to make Nordstrom’s façade — partially hidden from customers on the other side of the outdoor mall — stand out. It will also be overshadowed by a towering condo building to the east and a large Barnes & Noble store to the west.

Architects designed a large vertical store sign to get around the low visibility issue, Jones said.

Along Colorado Street, the Nordstrom will be one of few locations to feature a large horizontal window.

“It’s unusual for Nordstrom to do, but it was very critical to activate the pedestrian entry at the paseo, which will be connecting Colorado to the Americana,” she said.

The building will sport earth colors, with more colorful terra cotta panels and lighter stucco on the rest of the structure, Jones said. There will also be lighted wall sconces and landscaping along Colorado.

Demolition will start in January, and construction is expected to be completed by October 2013. The new Nordstrom is expected to generate $460,000 in annual sales taxes, according to city officials.

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