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Council plans to veto Platt Project

Laura Sturza

While the Platt Companies keeps downsizing plans for its four-acre

Burbank Media Center, the City Council wants further reductions

before green-lighting the project.

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“I am not comfortable, and will not support, a project that has a

12-story or 15-story component,” Councilman Jef Vander Borght said at

this week’s council meeting, which ended at 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Council members agreed that although the project has gone from 25

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stories to 18, to 15, and now to 12, the developer is going to have

to take more off the top of the $200-million center.

Platt’s plans include media office space, apartments, a health

club, retail and restaurant space, a church with a child-care

facility for 144 children, and about 2,000 underground parking

spaces in five buildings.

It would be on a triangle- shaped lot near the Ventura (134)

Freeway, abutting Alameda Street, Lima Street and Olive Avenue.

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The council probably will deny the project at its meeting Tuesday,

Mayor David Laurell said. The review was postponed this week so

members could have more information on an environmental-impact study.

They wanted to vote on the study and the project on the same night,

Laurell said.

“I still am in favor of Platt doing this project ... if the

developer is willing to take the comments that he got from residents

and the council and make this something that the neighborhood, the

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community and the council can be excited about,” Laurell said.

Council members’ comments at this week’s meeting did not leave

developer Rick Platt believing the project would be denied when the

discussion resumes, he said.

“We don’t have any expectations about what is going to happen on

Tuesday night,” Platt said.

Some of the 50 residents who spoke for and against the project

said they would accept a five-story project, but were unhappy with

the prospect of added traffic coming to an already congested area.

But Platt said by building housing near where people work,

residents will not “get in their cars and plug up the streets.”

It is too early to be specific about how the project would be

modified if it is rejected, but the company will continue to pursue

the city’s approval, Platt spokesman Mark Wittenberg said.

“We need to consider an additional reduction in height,”

Wittenberg said. “We’re coming back as soon as possible with a

project that addresses their concerns.”

The company started planning the center three years ago, and is

focused on building in Burbank’s Media District, where the demand for

office space is “extremely strong,” Platt said.

“The average vacancy factor in Los Angeles is about 18%, but the

Media District itself has a single-digit vacancy factor for office

space,” Platt said. “We try to look at this from the city’s

perspective ... does the city really want to lose tenants to the

Westside?”


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