I circled the Glendale Galleria twice on Black Friday afternoon before finding a way to enter the parking structure. I had spent the morning at the Burbank Media Center Mall, where I found parking easily and saw crowds only at Sears’ electronics counter and Mervyns’ 50% off everything sale.
The Americana attraction is helping Galleria traffic. Whether the two shopping areas will thrive throughout this recessions remains to be seen. Why Brand Blvd. retailers a few blocks to the north have lost out on this synergy is another question. The City Council recently directed staff to explore creating a central Brand Blvd. business improvement district to assist its struggling retailers.
My own Black Friday observation is that if the Galleria is busy, it is at the expense of other area retail districts, including Burbank’s Media Center and the storefronts of central Brand. While the Council’s concern for central Brand merchants is laudable, their discussion didn’t address the larger questions: How many retail districts can our community support? Why has so much retail space been built here?
Glendale’s Barnes and Noble relocation to the Americana left a large retail space vacant on Glendale Avenue. I just noticed that there will be a new tenant, TJ Maxx, moving in right next to its competitor Ross Dress-for-Less. The long-vacant former Linens N’ Things space at the Glendale Marketplace on Brand has just been occupied by a Marshall’s mega shoe outlet.
When each of those smaller developments were in the planning stages, members of our community objected to the addition of yet more retail space in Glendale, questioning whether it would be a net benefit to our community. And here we are in 2008-2009, as the economy contracts, trying to figure out how to help struggling retailers in Glendale pull business away from other areas.