About a dozen trees were being chopped down as patrons and passersby at The Shops at Atlas Park mall in Glendale looked on, on Tuesday morning.
The outdoor shopping center is redesigning its signature Center Green and taking in two new clothing stores.
“This community is looking for a retail, dining and entertainment destination that feels modern, comfortable and family friendly,” said Lisa Diaz, property manager for the shopping center.
But what caught people’s eye this week were the trees in the center plaza being shaven down by chainsaws on Tuesday morning.
About three men sawed each tree down and proceeded to break apart the larger branches and place them into bundles along the center plaza.
A large green fence surrounded the entire area but holes throughout the boundary allowed those walking by to catch a glimpse of the fallen trees.
“I don’t know what they’re doing but the whole thing is kind of ridiculous,” one gentleman said. “I heard from the security guard that these trees cost $3,000 a piece. What a waste of money.”
Macerich, the company that acquired the troubled Atlas Park mall in 2011, could not confirm the price of each tree but did say that every tree would be replaced so shoppers shouldn’t worry.
“New landscaping is part of the overall plan,” a Macerich spokeswoman said. “The healthy trees will be replanted.”
The design for the Center Green, which currently is a cement plaza where occasional events are held in the summer, includes new, moveable glass kiosks for seasonal and specialty merchandise and a 10,000-square-foot area designed to host community events and live performances as well.
A Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe, both clothing retailers geared towards young adults, will be opening their stores along the concourse.
The Atlas Park mall website also mentions the addition of 100 upfront parking spaces to accommodate shoppers.
“I really don’t know how I feel about cutting down trees for parking spaces,” Chelsea Higgins, who was shopping at the mall, said. “I hope they at least put some new ones up when they finish but it just looks kind of sad with all of those trees lying on the ground.”
The Shops at Atlas Park mall currently features more than 375,000 square feet of retail and office space, a New York Sports Club and retailers and restaurants including California Pizza Kitchen, Shiro of Japan, Chico’s, Gymboree, Chili’s Bar & Grill and Starbucks.
“Maybe adding new stores will be a good thing,” one patron said. “I don’t really come here because I don’t find the stores so great, so maybe new stores will make this a better place to come. It’s very beautiful in the spring and summer, it just needs some better shopping.”
Macerich said construction will continue through the spring. Forever 21, Charlotte Russe and the new Center Green are slated to open in the summer.