Rick Caruso enters Los Angeles mayoral race

Al Urbanski
Real Estate Editor & Manager
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Chic retail center trailblazer Rick Caruso now looks to move to a political path.

The major player in elegant shopping centers in Southern California now wants to be the mayor of Los Angeles.

Rick Caruso, the billionaire developer of chic mixed-use properties such as The Grove and The Americana at Brand, filed candidacy papers with the City Clerk’s office in L.A. last week after having changed his party affiliation to Democrat.

“It’s a very meaningful day for me and my family,” he told a group of reporters in downtown L.A. last Friday. “I love Los Angeles, I love the diversity of Los Angeles. I’m eager to be a part of this.”

Caruso is one of the forward-thinking retail real estate developers whose success in the development of elegant, community-based centers has been studied by mall owners seeking to make their properties more relevant over the past few years.

His development company was early in installing advanced parking technologies, adding geo-fenced loyalty rewards and mobile technologies to aid shopping activity, and creating comfortable Uber pick-up zones at its centers.

“Brick-and-mortar retail is alive and well if you have the right brick-and-mortar retail,” he told Forbes in a video interview. “It’s like any category of any business. You have to be current, you have to be relevant, you have to be efficient and productive. But the main thing in retail is you have to be meaningful to somebody.”

Caruso faces a tough primary on June 7 against a field that includes United States Representative Karen Bass, former LAPD and current city council member Joe Buscaino, and city council member Kevin de Leon.