The village shopping area will be going urban soon.
Urban Outfitters, a retail clothing store that caters to eclectic,
young-adult tastes in clothing and home furnishings for men and
women, will open Tuesday in the long-vacant former Newberry’s
building at 330 N. San Fernando Road.
The opening of the store is being touted as a boon for the city
and its business community because of the draw the hip retailer could
provide for the nearby Media City Center mall and AMC Entertainment
“The chamber was very much in favor of this,” said Susan Bowers,
executive director of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce. “That is a key
location. Getting a really great retailer in there was very important
to continuing to develop the downtown area. They share a similar
demographic to AMC and IKEA. Our hope is that the three entities will
build on each other.”
Bowers described Philadelphia-based Urban Outfitters as a store
that attracts a kind of Bohemian-mix market niche. The store sells
everything from creative T-shirts to shoes and vintage clothing.
In December, the City Council approved a start-up loan of $675,000
for renovation of the building, which paved the way for the store.
The old five-and-dime Newberry’s had been vacant for about seven
years. The vote was a reversal of an earlier decision. But
constituent feedback in favor of the hip store and a lower loan cost
changed minds on the council.
Urban Outfitters officials said Burbank was a prime location
because the commercial hub is near sprawling studio campuses and
wardrobe stylists who work with the studios. The structure itself
also was a key attraction because it is near other large retail hubs.
“Our philosophy has always been to seek out large, expansive,
historic buildings and to emphasize the unique structural elements
that are historically inherent to the building itself,” said Kevin
Lyons, art director for Urban Outfitters. “Burbank is the type of
ideal location that Urban has consistently and aggressively sought
since our inception. Quite simply, we believe that our customer
lives, works, and visits downtown Burbank. It is an extremely
self-sufficient, vibrant community which fits well with the Urban
The building is 20,000 square feet, of which Urban Outfitters will
use 15,000. The remainder will go to a yet-to-be-announced tenant.
Bowers gave a lot of credit for bringing in Outfitters to
developer Bill Tucker, president of Tucker Investment Group, a
commercial development firm.
Tucker bought the building several months ago with an eye toward
bringing in the retailer.
“We went after them right away because we thought it would be a
catalyst for other retailers coming to Burbank,” Tucker said.
Redevelopment Project Manager Jennifer Mack said city officials
were pleased that after several years of vacancy, the space finally
had a tenant, an “innovative” one with the potential to attract other
retailers. She also said the presence of the retailer, along with the
AMC 16 theaters, is the beginning of an effort to bring more
commercial and residential life to downtown.
Officials said the vintage feel of the property would be retained,
including vaulted ceilings and a large canopy that extends to the
front of the store.
Urban Outfitters was founded in 1970 as a store called Free
People, on the University of Pennsylvania campus. Since then, it has
grown to 52 stores in the United States and Canada, with a cluster of
outlets in the United Kingdom.