The veritable roller-coaster ride of Burbank’s 2002 economy,
ranging from highs, like the opening of the Empire Center raking in
extra tax money, to the lows of the slowest holiday shopping season
in more than a decade, have ended.
Predictions for this year, however, view the ride getting even
The biggest potential problem of 2003 is the 25% in local tax
revenues reallocated to help alleviate the state’s massive deficit
crisis, officials said.
To keep her department afloat, Community Development Director Sue
Georgino said that, as a last resort, the city is prepared to issue
bonds so it can take advantage of low interest rates.
“We don’t want to lose the momentum we’ve established in the past,
making sure that Burbank has a strong balance of industry, retail and
entertainment,” she said.
On the optimistic side, the most noticeable improvement will be in
the Burbank Village this summer. Urban Outfitters -- the new tenant
of the long vacant Newberry’s building -- and the first phase of the
AMC Entertainment Village -- including the 16-screen movie theater,
retail stores, restaurant and fitness center -- are expected to be
open as early as June.
With local theaters already attracting about 70,000 moviegoers a
weekend, the one-two punch of retail and entertainment drawing
consumers to Burbank Village should start a trend of new retailers
sprouting up along San Fernando Boulevard, said Susan Bowers,
executive director of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce.
“This will be something exciting to watch in the coming year,” she
On the other side of Magnolia Boulevard, soon-to-be Media City
Center owner Pan Pacific is expected to embark on major renovations
in the mall, especially on the underutilized first floor.
“I think Burbank should keep a close eye on the Media City Center
because there will be a lot of great changes,” said Brian Gartland,
the mall’s marketing director. He declined to give specifics until
the plans are more ironed out.