Last week I attended a public informational meeting on the I Heart Burbank project already started on our Burbank Mall. This project plans to revitalize the entire area of the Burbank Town Center, which includes the mall and 8 other ‘zones’ in the surrounding lots in Downtown Burbank. I walked away with at least 20 bits of information I think we’d all like to know, as residents and potential residents of the fabulous city of Burbank, California.
Having said this, I definitely go between loving and loathing this project. First and foremost, I don’t think you’d find a single resident in Burbank that will say the mall doesn’t need the face lift it’s currently getting…to the tune of $60million dollars. Nope. That’s one that every single person I’ve spoken to about, agrees is long overdue. But with this remodel, comes all the other stuff. It goes hand in hand, because it’s all owned by the same company and, fortunately or unfortunately, they can build the area how they’d like, pending everything is approved in the right avenues.
So, that leads me here. On one hand, I am super excited to see this city, that I’ve called home for so many years, become a little more updated with some new architecture and fresh restaurants and shops. On the other hand, I’m sad. I’m sad because it’s been changing so much already and the thought of so many more high rises and another hotel in Downtown is sad. Traffic, school impact, parking…what will happen?
The truth is, we just don’t know yet. None of us do. We can project. We can assume. We can panic, but none of it will do us any good. I’m choosing to look at any bright sides I can through this process. I have no doubt, this project will move forward. It’s just scary. And with all the other development happening in our city (Talaria and 3rd street), I’m just kinda….sad.
I am, however, I was very pleased to hear the speaker in the presentation say, ‘Is this a perfect plan? No.’
The acknowledgment of this, was kind of nice to hear. I don’t think the developers have all the answers yet. I’m certain city council doesn’t either. This will be a long process and there will definitely be opportunities for the public to have their say, good and bad, and I will be sure to keep you posted on that.
For now, though, I walked away from the meeting with a lot of notes…20 of which I think Burbank residents might like to know about.
So, here ya go. 20 things I walked away with. Good and bad.
20. 2.5 Million in tax revenue to city of Burbank
I think this is a huge one for our city. We are in a deficit and I believe the council will pretty much approve anything that will fill this hole.
19. Currently the Vacancy rates in Burbank are 1% and Rent in Burbank, on average is going up $100/month
It’s no joke, the homes that go up for sale in this city don’t stay on the market for long. I spoke to a business owner yesterday who just hired a new employee from San Diego. This new employee can’t find anywhere affordable to live at the moment and is in temporary housing. Rent is astronomical, in my humble opinion and property is in high demand. So, I’m super curious to see about how affordable, affordable housing is.
18. Sun Panel/Green Construction
There are plans all over to ‘green’ this project as much as possible. Some plans have not been finalized just yet.
17. 4 – 7 story buildings of apartment/condos
There will be 4(four) seven story residential building. Below will be retail/eating.
16. Street closures for Ice Rink/Outdoor Movie Nights/Farmers Market, etc.
The section of San Fernando in front of the Old IKEA has ability to be shut down for outdoor ice skating, farmers markets and outdoor movies.
15. Office Depot will more than likely relocate to inside mall
This is pretty much self explanatory
14. There will potentially be micro-units
There was discussion of a handful of micro-units being part of this project. Micro-units are small apartments that are usually around 200-300 square feet. These apartments often include a small living/bedroom area, a small bathroom, and a kitchenette. In some cases, bathrooms and kitchens are shared among residents on the same floor and the micro-units are primarily for sleeping and sitting.
13. There’s still a long process of approvals from city before construction
There are many environmental factors that will be going through a process of approvals. This is where there will be room for public input.
12. Once construction starts, minimum of 2 year construction before completion
It could be a few months to another year before this is fully approved. From that point, there will be an estimated 2-year construction time to completion.
11. Macy’s will not allow San Fernando blvd section to be closed permanently
The developers have looked in to getting that section of San Fernando closed permanently with no vehicle access, but Macy’s owns that area and refused to allow.
10. The goal of the developers is two-fold
The two goals of the developers for this project are:
1: Revitalize the mall
2: Develop a pedestrian oriented neighborhood with easy access to dining and entertainment and transportation. Essentially, more walkable.
9. Not all retail/restaurant tenants are not solidified yet
We do know places like Cost Plus World Market will be moving in. But as for the several new shops and eateries….there is not much set in stone for the mall and the Old Ikea location.
8. AMC has signed a 15 year lease with the Mall
AMC isn’t going anywhere for a while.
7. Look for Family Entertainment center where Sport Chalet was
There was no confirmation of what will be going in, just a hint toward something like “Dave and Busters.” My guess?….. probably something like Sky Zone or similar. There will be a place where adults and kids alike will be able to enjoy together. Something with food, activity and games.
6. Senior Living Challenged
A few residents wanted to know how in the world Seniors will be able to afford living here. There was no answer given, as there is no answer at this time.
5. Where Corner Bakery is, planned 15 story building
15 stories. The end. The landscape will be changing.
4. Chevy’s and CPK will more thank likely move to the top level of the mall
Barnes and Noble will also, more than likely be re-locating as well. Not sure what will happen to Crunch, for those of you who work out there.
3. The Mall renovation should be completed December 2017
The good news is, is that by Christmastime, we should have a very, very different mall!
2. Affordable Housing means ‘market value’
This is still the one thing I don’t get. Affordable to whom? From what I understand, they are expecting many studio employees to come live in Downtown. I suppose that’s possible. But market value for renting in Burbank isn’t really what I consider affordable to most. I guess time will tell.
1. In n Out isn’t going anywhere
Rest easy….this place isn’t going anywhere. It’s staying right where it is.