Screen grab from last week's Glendale City Council meeting: Patel testified about the expansion deal of Americana; Caruso is seen in the back
Americana at Brand developer Rick Caruso met with Golden Key Hotel owner Ray Patel last Friday, the first meeting between the two men since Caruso announced his proposed expansion of the Glendale mall. The meeting, held at the Golden Key, lasted “no more than 10 minutes,” according to Patel, who characterized the event as a neutral sit-down. “I just listened to what he had to say,” said Patel. As covered last week, Patel was told by the city to either negotiate a deal with Caruso to sell the Golden Key, or present his own plans for re-development. But in an interview on Wednesday at his hotel, Patel said he is dubious the City Council would consider any proposed redevelopment plan other than Caruso’s retail project. If Patel did present a redevelopment plan for the hotel, which he bought in 2001 for $5.3 million, “we all know how that would go,” he says, inferring that the City has already dubbed Caruso the winner of the re-development face-off.
As for Patel's complaints, Caruso argues the site falls within the downtown Glendale redevelopment zone, and "the city always planned to redevelop the site," said the developer last week. He also outlined his plan to add three stores, and add a second fountain and more outdoor seating/dining to Caruso Way.
As for why Caruso wants to expand now? "We can’t accommodate larger tenants,” said Caruso, adding he already has retail tenants for the 60,000-140,000 square foot space. If it was pointed out that Americana currently has empty store fronts, the developer said these new stores would help bridge the area on Colorado Blvd with the rest of the mall, including the empty spaces at Brand and Colorado blvds. "Right now, there's nothing to tie it all together," said Caruso.
For his part, Patel believes the push to expand Americana is related to his lawsuit against Caruso and the Glendale Redevelopment Agency over construction issues, lost revenue, and disputes about the use of Orange Street. Filed in 2008, the suit will go to trial late next year. Caruso dismissed that allegation, adding that Patel "will lose his lawsuit."
Additionally, the hotel owner expressed frustration that Caruso announced his plans for expansion to the redevelopment agency and the media instead of coming to Patel first to talk about a deal. “He went to the media before [coming to me,”]," said Patel. "It's all bizarre."
"It was on the city agenda," said Caruso, in response to Patel's criticisms about being alerted about the proposed deal. "He should have received a copy [of the agenda]."
Meanwhile, if Patel has a figure in mind for how much he wants for the hotel, he's not publicly saying what he's seeking.
This is an older Glendale city document regarding the original Americana agreement-- one can see on the map below how the hotel was excluded from the deal. Philip Lanzafame, director of the Glendale Redevelopment Agency, tells us that when city planned a retail project on the site, the hotel (then a Best Western Golden Key) was considered an appropriate use. Also, Glendale couldn't afford to buy the hotel at the time, he said.