By SHELLY GARCIA
With its high rents and low vacancy rates, Burbank's Media District has been dominated by well-heeled entertainment companies that could afford to pay top dollar for location.
But a new round of office development elsewhere in the city will make Burbank more attractive to other kinds of companies, while broadening the city's standing as a business center, real estate brokers say.
Two new projects in the downtown area, and a third near Burbank Airport, are expected to lease for between $2.15 and $2.40 per square foot, compared to $2.50 to $2.75 in the Media District. The lower rents will make these new properties competitive with other parts of the San Fernando Valley.
"The lower-priced space will allow Burbank to compete for tenancies that would otherwise be forced out because of cost," said Douglas Marlow, senior vice president with CB Richard Ellis.
"The (price) difference with the rest of the Valley is closing, and as that continues, it won't just be entertainment that locates there," agreed Jim Lindvall, senior vice president at Grubb & Ellis.
The first of the new projects to come on line will be Media Studios North, a 650,000-square-foot office project under construction by M. David Paul & Associates near Burbank Airport.
So far, the company has leased 70,000 square feet to Equilon Enterprises LLC, a joint venture between Texaco Inc. and Shell Oil Co., and 20,000 square feet to Microcadam Inc., a supplier to the computer-aided design (CAD) market.
"I think we're going to be seeing a diversification," said Paul Krueger, economic development manager for the city of Burbank. "There are several brokers working with non-entertainment-type businesses."
And more office construction is on the way. In September, Regent Properties, a Beverly Hills-based developer, received "conceptual" approval from the Burbank City Council to build Metropolitan Plaza, a mixed-use project that includes 201,000 square feet of office space at the site of the city's old police headquarters on Olive Avenue between San Fernando Boulevard and Third Street in downtown Burbank.
Also in the downtown area, Kilroy Realty Corp. is negotiating with Vestar Development Co. to acquire a 30-acre parcel for a 400,000- to 800,000-square-foot campus-style office development at Buena Vista Street and Empire Avenue.
The Media District is likely to expand as well, with J.H. Snyder Co. proposing a 585,000-square-foot mid-rise complex at 3300 W. Olive Ave.
In addition to the price competitiveness, the new projects are located along freeways that would grant easy access to other parts of the Valley or to downtown L.A.
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