Village gets a new ‘outfit’

Ryan Carter

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

Outfitters experience.”

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.