Changes coming to Atlas Park?


| brennison@queenscourier.com |

A name change, among other modifications, may be in store for the struggling Shops at Atlas Park.

Macerich, Atlas’ owner, is still in the process of reviewing the mall and considering alterations, which may include a renaming.

“Whenever we redevelop, there is a whole list of possibilities, and a name change is one of them,” said Tim Steffan, senior vice president of property management at Macerich. “This is part of the normal process.  It takes time to get arms around the entire project and property.”

The shops were originally named after the former occupants of the property, Atlas Terminal. There is no definitive timetable for a decision on whether the mall will undergo a name change.

Macerich purchased the 21-acre open-air shopping and entertainment center for approximately $54 million at a January 2011 foreclosure auction after its former owners defaulted on a $128 million loan to two French banks in 2009.

The Santa Monica headquartered company also owns and operates Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst which sits just two miles away from Atlas Park.

Steffan said that though the mall is just down the road, in an incredibly dense market, Queens Center has no effect on Atlas.

Glendale’s Atlas Park was unveiled in 2006 as an outdoor “lifestyle center,” but its mix of restaurants and boutiques slumped through recent years. Shoppers have complained about a lack of “anchor” stores.

“It’s lovely, but it is usually a second thought when I think about shopping,” said Middle Village resident Cathy Rose.

Steffan said that any mall needs an anchor or destination as a draw. The company will also look into expanding entertainment in the center.

“There is no one store attraction that shoppers come for,” said Michelle Herrera, who said she frequents the restaurants in the mall. “Most people seem to come to eat or watch a movie.”

The mall currently features California Pizza Kitchen, Chili’s, Manor Oktoberfest, Shiro of Japan, Simply Fondue and Venezia Ristorante.

“Nothing is off the table right now.  We are looking at everything from a 360-degree perspective — parking, access, merchandise,” Steffan said of a potential reinvention of the site.  “Simply put, we are a patient group.  We acquired [Atlas Park] because we believe in the community. We want to make it better, something of value to the community.”