His firm, Caruso Affiliated, had received preliminary approval to develop a 14-acre site at the corner of Hacienda Drive and Dublin Boulevard with an understanding that the firm would pay $13.1 million for the land, which is owned by Alameda County. The vacant site, across from Hacienda Crossings, was planned as a mixture of open-air retailers with Whole Foods to build an anchor supermarket there.
But Caruso's firm found itself in a Catch 22 situation. Whole Foods and others refused to sign leasing contracts until funding arrangements for the shopping center were secured. However, funding was being withheld until all the tenants had signed their leases.
Another factor appeared to be increased competition from an expansion under way at nearby Stoneridge Shopping Center to the west and the new multi-million-dollar, 140- to 160-store Paragon Outlet Mall under construction at El Charro Road and I-580 to the east.
To be called the Caruso Center, the Dublin project would have included up to 180,000 square feet of commercial space on land currently zoned for "campus office." Without the development, that zoning designation remains for the site, which remains vacant and fenced off.
Known for his high end retail developments in Southern California, he has received awards ranging from "Humanitarian of the Year" by several organizations and in 1996 was named "Developer of the Year" by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Caruso Affiliated developments include the Grove, a 20-acre outdoor shopping center in the center of Los Angeles which was to serve as the model for the Caruso Center in Dublin.