Santa Anita mall plan collapsing as developer/potential mayor candidate Rick Caruso pulls out

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Prospects for a high-end shopping mall near the Santa Anita racetrack will likely collapse now that its lead developer, Rick Caruso, has announced he’s pulling out.

The man who put Glendale’s Americana at Brand and The Grove in Los Angeles on the retail map offered no explanation for his apparent decision to abandon the Shops at Santa Anita project. The mall would have occupied 51 acres in the parking lot of the fabled Arcadia racetrack.

Officials in that city told the LA Daily News and the LA Business Journal that they were shocked and disappointed about Caruso’s news; they’d counted on tax revenues from the $500 million project to help offset sharp and steady declines in the number of racing fans.

Political observers speculate that Caruso may have dropped the plan he launched about seven years ago because he hopes to succeed Antonio Villaraigosa as mayor of Los Angeles. The developer wouldn’t comment on that possible explanation, either.

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