After over 20 years of planning, the renovations for Glenfair Plaza on 59th Avenue and Bethany Home Road are complete, and the shopping center is looking more alive than ever.
The 83,000-square-foot center took on new form through the visions of Michael A. Pollack, president of Michael A. Pollack Real Estate Investment, who was able to turn around this buried piece of Glendale and bring it back to life.
“(It was) pretty much just a forgotten shopping center or skeleton of a shopping center,” Pollack said. “There was only one tenant left in there when we bought it. We knew that the bones were there, we knew we could create it into something that would be special, and that people would talk about.”
After some touch up fixes to the center, Pollack committed to the full renovation in 2020. The designs didn’t come easily, though, as Glenfair Plaza’s rebuilding plans didn’t make itself clear at first glance.
“I started the drawings more than 10 years ago,” Pollack said. “I probably changed them 20 times because I wasn’t getting what I wanted. And I finally, about two and a half years ago, got it to where I wanted it and where it felt truly like I was moving into a completely different area or a different feeling.
“It’s been an expensive road to get to this point, but I just think it made such a difference in that neighborhood.”
The center itself has quickly filled up with tenants who want to be a part of the action. McDonald’s, K-Momo Fashion, Super 99 Cent Center and Food City are just some of the businesses that will benefit from the revitalization efforts.
The new look for Glenfair Plaza was more than just a normal renovation for Pollack, though, as he said it was one of his favorites he’s ever worked on.
“It’s not like when I build them from the ground up brand new where I can do all the tricks, bells and whistles that I want and I can design that into the plan,” Pollack said. “When I do a project like this where I have to work around what somebody else did, sometimes a half a century ago and what he could have done years ago, and so I’m a little bit limited. And that makes it a little bit more difficult to work with.
“But I think we found an incredible way of doing it with this particular project. And I think when you see it, you can see that it now looks like it was built into more of a village, it’s not just one big, ugly, long line, like they were building 40 to 50 years ago.”
The main reason Pollack has such affinity for this project is because of what it stands for in the community of Glendale. In the hot area of Glendale, the center will now draw more attention as a place where people can come, eat, shop and have fun.
It will also generate people talking about the looks of the center and making for an opportunity for smaller businesses in the center to be seen and benefit from the increased foot traffic.
So, although not an effort that seems to help the community much, the contrary is true, and this revitalization brings a forgotten area of town back into the public eye, all thanks to Pollack.
“I definitely want to make a difference, and I’ll continue to do that,” Pollack said. “I’ve done over 12 million square feet of projects now in my career. So, as long as I can keep doing it, as long as it keeps bringing areas back to better days, then I’ll keep doing it.”