Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Arcadia Mall Under Fire

Nope, not that mall. Gotcha. This time around it's actually Westfield, the mall that currently sits near the Race Track (and vigorously opposes the proposed Caruso development) that's in for criticism. Why? Because they want to expand.

Kenneth Wong, president of Westfield America, maintained cool composure as each of the council members grilled him and other representatives about the impact on traffic by The Promenade, a 100,000-square-foot, outdoor expansion that would stretch between Nordstroms and Macy's atop two levels of parking.

"We feel very confident it's going to be a big hit," Wong said in reply to Councilman Mickey Segal's skepticism that outdoor retail wouldn't hurt the indoor mall.

The council had yet to vote the project up or down by 9:40 p.m.

With Westfield representatives before the council seeking approval for its own expansion, while it vigorously opposes a development next door at Santa Anita Park, council members took the opportunity to vent their frustrations.

And what frustrations. Apparently, the Arcadia City Council is concerned that the Promenade, the upscale addition to the current mall, will add to traffic and not add enough parking. Incredibly, Councilmember Yuo is actually worried about his constituents berating him for not providing enough mall parking (first time I've seen that in the description for a city council job).

There's a whole lot of doubletalk going on here. Westfield's been a big supporter of foes of the Caruso development, but their self-interest seems to be even greater than previously thought, since they have expansion plans of their own. Of course, given the rubber stamp the council seems willing to give Caruso's plans, their gripes ring particularly hollow and, to be frank, petulant. Two of the major complaints were potential lack of parking and whether or not the expansion was going to be a hit.

Hmmm, let's consider those. Mightn't it just be possible that Westfield has self-interest in, you know, taking care of those problems? Who would you trust if you were trying to determine whether a business should expand: the owner of that business or a local politician? And wouldn't a lack of parking harm Westfield more than, say, a city councilman?

Naw...couldn't be. For the full article, check out Todd Ruiz's piece in the Star-News (who, I should add, runs Under the Dome).

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