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Burbank’s business agenda for 2003

Jackson Bell

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

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in more than a decade, have ended.

Predictions for this year, however, view the ride getting even

more extreme.

The biggest potential problem of 2003 is the 25% in local tax

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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.

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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

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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

said.

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.


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