vestar/Mar3/bb/12 inches/mike1st/mark2nd


Staff Reporter

Burbank development officials are pressing Vestar Development Co. to provide more details about a project Vestar hopes to build on the 103-acre property that for decades served as Lockheed Corp.’s aerospace manufacturing site.

“We really need an application (from Vestar) within the next two weeks,” said Bob Tague, Burbank’s community development director. “If they don’t do that quickly, we will begin to slip on our ability to get the project approved by the end of the year.”

Vestar officials did not return phone calls last week.

Burbank officials said they hope to select a consultant to oversee the environmental review of the project’s expected impacts by the end of March. Work on the environmental impact report could theoretically begin immediately, Tague said, but it would be too costly and time-consuming without more details from Vestar.

“They (Vestar) have a series of very broad alternatives that would entail a tremendously expensive and extensive EIR,” Tague said. “They are going to want to reduce those costs by narrowing down their options and providing more specifics.”

The development, being envisioned to include a major media-oriented business campus along with retail stores, is expected to play a crucial role in launching the city’s envisioned Media District North business community.

Tague said the city expects to receive a “pretty well-defined” development proposal from Vestar by the end of the month.

In December, Vestar had proposed developing about 800,000 square feet of retail space and 750,000 square feet of offices. But city officials have given a cool reception to Vestar’s original proposal for the property.

City Manager Robert “Bud” Ovrom, Councilman Ted McConkey and others indicated they would prefer a project with substantially more emphasis on media-entertainment facilities.

Tenants from that industry have filled Burbank’s existing Media District to capacity and need more room to grow.

Not only would media-related tenants bring higher-wage jobs than retail stores, the city has already made substantial investments in creating a shopping district near the Vestar site. So a huge amount of additional space is not needed, city officials said.

Ovrom said the city supports development of about 64 acres of business park facilities and 39 acres of retail including the 14 acres just south of the Metrolink track and west of Victory Place.

Vestar is in discussions with prospective media-industry tenants “to see what the demand is for various uses” of the property, Tague said. “We’re hoping they’ll put a concept for the site together that would also meet the demands of the community,” he added.

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