Developer of Gateway Project Begins to Wonder What's in a Name

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Just when everyone thought work was under way on the new Burbank Gateway Center retail and office complex, the developer of the $250-million project says it may not be so.

Construction is going forward as planned, have no doubt. The uncertainty is over what to name the project on the 41-acre redevelopment site downtown.

Fred Bruning, a representative of developer Alexander Haagen Co., agreed with city officials Monday that Southern California is home to enough "gallerias," "plazas" and "gateway centers."

So while "Burbank Gateway Center" was the developer's original working title, "if we find a better name, we will change it," Bruning said.

"If we could find something truly unique and unusual, it would be a nice touch. It's something we feel is important, so we're going to take a closer look at it."

Councilman Michael Hastings is among those who favor changing the name, but he believes the developer should let Burbank residents to pick the name.

"I think the name is important because it gives an identity not just to the project, but to the community," Hastings said. "If it's something that's going to be around for 100 years, I think it should mean something to the community."

Told of Hastings' suggestion, Bruning said the developer would consider holding a community contest to choose a name.

Not everyone is so particular about the title, however. The original name "sounds fine to me," said Allen Kessler, owner of Kessler Jewelers across the street from the project site. "As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't make a lot of difference what they call it, just as long as they build it."

The 2.5-million-square-foot development will include an enclosed three-level shopping mall with four office towers and a hotel. The site is at Magnolia and Burbank boulevards near the Golden State Freeway. The mall will be anchored by the Ikea furniture store and Mervyn's and Sears department stores.

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