Rick Caruso, the shopping mall impresario and maybe-someday mayor of L.A., has been trying for a few years to build a shopping center next to the ailing Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia.

The project has faced bitter opposition from rival mall owner Westfield Group, which has sued over the project and funded ballot measures to slow it down. The project has been on hold for a year as Caruso's development partner, track owner Magna Entertainment, worked its way through bankruptcy.

Well, Dow Jones is now reporting that Magna is dropping out of the deal.

That would kill the project, if true.

But (Magna) earlier this month notified Caruso that it was backing out of the deal, according to court papers. An entity controlled by Caruso has protested the move in a court filing…

Caruso, the owner and developer of The Grove in Los Angeles and The American at Brand in Glendale, said in an interview that he remains optimistic that the project can be salvaged. “We're in discussions and negotiations,” he said. “I'm confident we're going to work something out.”

Arcadia's political leaders have been eager for Caruso to build the mall, which would occupy an empty parking lot in the middle of town, generate millions in sales tax revenues, and perhaps even revitalize the racetrack.

LA Weekly