The Burbank Chamber of Commerce views the project as a means of enticing more upscale retailers and getting another hotel. "That will have a big impact on the draw and success of downtown," said chamber President Gary Olson.

Burbank's office vacancy rate at the end of the second quarter was 5.8 percent, the lowest in the San Fernando Valley, according to Grubb & Ellis Co.

In late 1998 and early 1999, the vacancy rate rose slightly when more than 950,000 square feet of space came on line in Burbank and Glendale, including the Media Studios North project, Glendale Plaza and 450 North Brand Blvd.

But brokers say the area still draws more office tenants than it can accommodate. While entertainment-industry growth has slowed, health care and insurance-industry tenants have picked up the slack. And that has area brokers optimistic.

"I like the project; it's in a good market," said Doug Marlow, vice president with CB Richard Ellis Inc. "We've seen activity pick up over the past several months. There's substantial demand."

Another plus for the project, which is slated to come on line in mid-2001, is the lack of competing office space that exists in the downtown village.

"Leasing in the (downtown) area has always been good," Marlow said.

The only other development in the Burbank Village area involves American Multi-Cinemas Inc. Just three blocks from the Regent site, at Palm Avenue and First Street, it will include a new 16-screen multiplex, situated across from the existing AMC 14-screen theater. The existing theater will be torn down and replaced with a parking structure. After that, Burbank Village redevelopment will essentially be finished.

"There are always opportunities to upgrade and enhance existing infrastructure, but in terms of development opportunities, the area is pretty much built out," said redevelopment official Davidson-Guerra


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