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Staff Reporter

The city of Burbank is seeking to develop a new retail and entertainment district in an eight-block area to the southeast of its Media City Center.

"We have more and more businesses coming to our city," said Mayor Bob Kramer. "They want a variety of places to shop and eat. It is important that cities keep up to date to keep people attracted to the city."

At least four new developments are planned for the area, which city officials are calling the Burbank Downtown Village. The largest development would be a new 22-screen American Multi-Cinemas theater, which would replace an existing 14-screen AMC cinema nearby.

"It is the next generation for Burbank," said Robert M. Tague, the city's community development director. "There is a pent-up demand to come to Burbank, and there is simply no good space to offer them."

Tague said stores like The Gap, Crate and Barrel, Linens & Things, Bed, Bath & Beyond; and restaurants like Wolfgang Puck's Cafe, Border Grill and the Cheesecake Factory have all expressed a desire to expand to Burbank and are talking to the developers about the space under construction.

The Burbank Downtown Village is bounded by Magnolia Boulevard, Third Street, First Street, and Angeleno Avenue. The area includes City Hall.

Projects slated for the area include:

? A new 22-plex AMC Theatre with 150,000 square feet of retail space. The approximately $50 million project would be developed by Los Angeles-based Centertainment Inc., a subsidiary of AMC, at Magnolia and Palm Avenue, a block north of AMC's 14-screen theater at First and Palm. Part of the site is now occupied by the Elks Lodge, which would be demolished.

The developers are awaiting final approval from the city to begin building.

"We think our project will anchor that part of downtown and we would like to rebuild our facility to remain competitive," said Allen Benjamin, senior vice president of Centertainment.

? A $40 million office-retail project at Third and Olive Avenue, on the site of the city's former police station headquarters. The development by Beverly Hills-based Regent Properties is being called Metropolitan Plaza and would include more than 200,000 square feet of office and retail space. The company plans to break ground in 1999 and complete the work by the end of that year. Laemmle Theatres has expressed interest in a five-screen theater in the space, city officials said.


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