Things Pacific Palisades has: a lot of money; award-winning-actor sightings at the Gelson's; a pretty dead downtown with very few (no?) dancing fountains. But that last item might have to be crossed off the list soon: The LA Times says that super-successful developer/yacht owner Rick Caruso (The Grove, The Commons at Calabasas, Americana at Brand) is finally close to finalizing a deal that would make him the owner of "the largest portfolio of commercial properties in this coastal pocket of Los Angeles" and put him in a position to jazz up Pac Pal's flatlining downtown. The deal, which we first heard about back in 2012 when it was still unconfirmed, will include most retail spaces in Pac Pal's "village" at Swarthmore Avenue and Sunset, plus a handful of spaces on Sunset and a parking lot zoned for multifamily development. His plan is to reinvent Swarthmore as a brand new, ped-friendly, walkable shopping district.
Caruso says he's not going to Grove-ize the village, and says he wants to keep the height and size of the buildings the same. He envisions a deli, an ice cream shop, retail, maaaybe a Trader Joe's, and restaurants organized on a street to look like they organically cropped up over the years, fitting in with the relaxed Pac Pal vibe. (So, no trolley here?) Of course, there are the predictable local NIMBYs (Palasadists?) who think the ghost-towny "Mayberry with money" vibe of downtown is cute and don't want anything to change, but a surprising amount of residents support a general revitalization (though with little consensus on what shape the revamp should take). The sale is anticipated to wrap up by the end of the year, giving us all lots of time to guess what kind of music they'll be piping in.
· Pacific Palisades readies for the Rick Caruso touch [LAT]