Chicago-based General Growth Properties may have thrown its last stone in attempting to stop Caruso Affiliated, a private retail developer in Southern California, from building a new open-air lifestyle center adjacent to General Growth's Galleria in Glendale, Calif.

In late January, state Superior Court Judge Robert O'Brien ruled in favor of Caruso Affiliated, which was chosen to build the center by the city council and approved by voters in an election financed by General Growth.

The REIT, which had proposed an alternative lifestyle center after Caruso Affiliated had already spent $5 million in the planning process, tried to derail the project by filing a lawsuit challenging its Environmental Impact Report.

O'Brien, however, upheld the Glendale City Council's approval of Caruso Affiliated's plan for a town center, ruling that the city's decision fully met requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act and denied all six causes of action filed by General Growth.

Caruso Affiliated owner Rick Caruso (above) says that General Growth can appeal the judge's decision, but contends the contest is over and he won. “You have to be willing to spend millions and have a fire in your belly to fight back,” he says.