It’s very unavoidable. The news is out there. We’re all now aware that our Burbank Mall will be getting a makeover. I would say facelift, but that’s really not even close to what’s going to happen. A facelift would just be the superficial description.
The Burbank Mall is getting a What Not To Wear makeover. Kind of like a ‘Surprise!, we’re going to throw away all of your clothes, make you really uncomfortable and cry, but when you see the new you, you’ll think, oh my gosh, I’m so beautiful and I wish I had done this sooner’ makeover.
It’s going to be okay Burbank. Remain calm.
Change is happening. Change is not always bad. As a matter of fact, I really think it’s time for some of this change.
Yesterday, I was graciously asked to come and have a chat with Jim O’Neil, Executive Vice President, Crown Realty & Development, Inc. (who grew up in the Burbank area and previously served in the Burbank Community Development Department) and Lance Taylor of CAPREF Manager LLC.
I get it...I’m a media outlet. I have the family demographic in and around this town and, quite frankly, a voice to reach a huge part of their target audience. This is why I do this, it’s kind of the whole point. So, of course I would jump at a chance to learn more about a project that has many of us up in arms.
Everything I’m saying here is my own opinion. I’m using information from a few sources and I’ll site them as needed. But what I saw yesterday, calms me. It excites me, actually.
It’s kind of been the same with The Talaria Project and Walmart. (Please hold your tomatoes, they go best on salad..I can't believe I'm saying it either)
What’s my point? Well, we don’t have to be happy with everything, but if we can get as much information about these projects as possible...the good and bad, then accepting the changes coming will be easier. (It still doesn’t mean you have to like it.)
So, what did I learn?
CAPREF owns the mall and CC Development Partners; a joint venture between Crown and CAPREF will be redeveloping the IKEA, Office Depot and Corner Bakery sites.
What are some points I’d like to get across (without having to write full paragraphs)?
- This project was originally planned to go up in place when the mall was built in 1989. It didn’t happen at that time, because, with the then economy, it wasn’t doable. This current proposal is actually still under what was already approved to be built (density)with the original proposal. I didn’t live here in Burbank at the time. I was actually, only 11 years old and probably fighting with my brothers over who’s turn it was to play Mario.
- Yes, it will be proposed that 765 new apartments will be going in. And...70 for-sale homes. Yup.
- This project seems to be focused on creating an extended walkable community in Downtown Burbank. You know, the whole live/work/play thing.
- Revenue from the Ikea redevelopment will be invested in the mall renovations.
- There is a budget issue in our current City status. It was cited recently in the Burbank Leader. This project (as will Walmart and Talaria...can’t believe I’m saying that) will help fill our General Fund. The General Fund is where we get the money to operate the city. You know, those really cool things like Police, Firemen & Parks & Rec Programs?
- And as a side note (nothing to do with this article or people mentioned) ...did you know that NOT ONE of the people from the Burbank Leader actually lives inside the city of Burbank???!?!?! Not one. So, we’ve got a news source, covering from the outside. Say what? (Burbank Leader, if this has changed, I’d love to know)
- The Mall will bring back the "Summer Movies Under the Stars” series on the large screen featured in the community plaza, free and open to the public. And within that same space, it’s possible the Downtown Ice Rink would go there...and more closed off outdoor activities. And also...maybe...the Farmer’s Market? That could be cool.
- The actual mall itself will get modernized with the addition of amenities such as free wifi and charging stations an open air plaza and improved skylights for more natural lighting. I don’t think anyone will argue that our Mall desperately needs some of this updating.
- Jim O’Neil is a huge proponent of keeping the parking FREE in Burbank. I asked about this. They will provide parking (one for every bedroom in the residential redevelopment) in addition to the 5600 spaces that are already available at Burbank Town Center today. Yes, the Mall has over 5600 parking spaces available. And even on busy days, the rooftop parking is still not fully utilized.
- Okay, so what about traffic? Well, it is actually proposed to be less. I say ‘proposed,’ people. With Ikea relocating and a majority of the traffic right there at San Fernando and Cypress coming in for Ikea....well, they won’t be there anymore. And with the residential people having their own parking spaces...that should be okay? (I said ‘proposed’)
- What about the impact on the schools with all of this new development? Well, I don’t know that just yet. Mr. Matt Hill...I’d love to speak with you on this. I’ll have my people call your people.....which means, that in between carpool, dinner and laundry, I would be calling your office...in my pajamas.
- In the end, our City is facing a deficit. We are short Police Officers. The taxes from retail go into our General Fund. All of the development will be helping to fill our General Fund. This is....a good thing.
- Please know this...In n Out Burger will not be going anywhere. Thank you to the good Lord above.
I’m not sure anyone can really argue with the fact that our mall needs an overhaul.
(And PS...Cost Plus World Market will be coming in!!!)
So, what?...I’ve now tried to ‘convince’ you all to like a project you’re not sure about? Nah, that’s not what I want to do. I just think with knowledge comes power. So, let’s just all make a commitment to ask questions, be civil, support our city and agree that change is coming and that it might not be easy.
If ANYONE has questions, they are more than happy to speak to you. They have set up a community information hotline and email address at 818-232-0774 and email@example.com.
They really do want the community to have information and ask questions.
And also, really go ahead and start paying attention to www.iheartburbank.com. Any new information will be here.
While you're at the website, visit this link and click on 'Experience.' This is a fly-through animation to show us what it's projected to look like: http://www.iheartburbank.com/the_details
The Magnolia Park Mamas Facebook Group has organized a meeting for residents to meet face to face with the gentlemen I’ve mentioned above. I'll get details and update.
Go! Ask questions, be informed....we all live here together.