Developers look to create ‘new neighborhood’ at the Burbank Town Center

After a community meeting with residents last month, the owner of the Burbank Town Center and properties west of the mall is looking forward to create a “new neighborhood” in the downtown area.

CAPREF Manager LLC, which owns the mall, and Crown Realty and Development Inc., the project’s developer, are looking to usher in the next phase of the Burbank Town Center.

The estimated $400-million project involves redeveloping the site where a former IKEA store was located and where a Corner Bakery, Office Depot, Chevy’s and California Pizza Kitchen are currently located. The goal is to build a 200-room hotel, up to 1,167 apartments and more than 40,000 square feet of retail space. Depending on what options CAPREF, Crown Realty and city officials choose, the project could instead include — on various individual sites — 70 condominiums and almost 150,000 square feet of office space.

Improvements to the Burbank Town Center include the mall itself. CAPREF has already invested about $50 million toward upgrades to the mall, which include building two new entrances, relocating its main elevator and building an outdoor escalator that leads to a new dining terrace.

“The vision that we have is to create a brand-new neighborhood in the city of Burbank,” said Lance Taylor, a director at CAPREF. “In our minds, that involves having multiple different uses — retail, hospitality, residential, for sale, potential offices and family entertainment. One piece is great, but all the pieces make it a lot better.”

Jim O’Neil, vice president of Crown Realty, said the project is currently about to start its environmental impact report study, which could take several months to complete.

As a former employee of the city of Burbank, O’Neil said it is important to continue listening and working with residents and the community regarding the project, which he believes will provide a benefit to the city.

He said he understands that Burbank is in a housing crisis, and that, although the project won’t be the only solution to that issue, the proposed housing units — which will include several microunits and affordable units — could make a small dent in addressing the matter.

“It’s not going to impact the single-family neighborhoods,” he said. “It’s bringing a much-needed new housing stock to the city of Burbank.”

Twitter: @acocarpio

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