Developer Rick Caruso's proposed outdoor mall development in Arcadia cleared a key hurdle this week when the city's Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the project.

The 5-0 vote sends the Shops at Santa Anita project to the City Council, which will discuss the matter on April 11.


The proposed project, which would be built by the developer's Los Angeles-based Caruso Affiliated, includes shops, restaurants and movie theaters next to historic Santa Anita Race Track.


Australia-based Westfield Group owns a mall next door to Caruso's site and has waged a battle with the local developer to stop him from building his project. Westfield funds a group called Arcadia First!, which opposes the Caruso development.


At one point Caruso had planned for a residential component to the project but pulled that aspect of the development after pressure from Westfield, which sponsored successful ballot measures last year in Arcadia that blocked paid parking and large, Vegas-style signs at the Caruso development.


Caruso was victorious in a similar battle three years ago against General Growth Properties, the owner of the Glendale Galleria. His company is now building a mixed use complex called Americana at Brand across from the Glendale mall.


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