Larger Burbank IKEA builds momentum

State finance officials this week approved the sale of the IKEA property, putting the Swedish furniture giant one step closer to nearly doubling its current operation in Burbank and building its largest retail store in the U.S.

The move — in which local developer Crown Realty and Development will acquire and redevelop IKEA's current digs — is still predicated on Burbank complying with stipulations included in winding down local redevelopment operations, but the decision by the California Department of Finance was greeted with optimism nonetheless.

“We're delighted,” said Ruth Davidson-Guerra, the city's assistant community development director. “We view this as a very good thing for the economic health of our city.”

IKEA announced plans in November to build the new store at on 22 acres at 805 S. San Fernando Blvd. — less than one mile from the current location — by 2016. But Los Angeles County officials who oversee dissolving Burbank's redevelopment obligations had been skeptical about whether the state would green-light the sale.

They thought the city's approval of the sale earlier this month didn't jive with the redevelopment dissolution law, which requires cities to draft property management plans for all former redevelopment land holdings, of which there are roughly 20 in Burbank.

The Successor Agency oversight board, created to handle the wind-down of redevelopment, passed “Part 1” of its property management plan earlier this month, which solely focused on the IKEA property.

That wasn't a problem for state officials, who in a letter approving the sale noted that the $1.3-million gained from the sale will be distributed to various taxing entities, including the city, county and the Burbank Unified School District.

Before the sale can move forward, however, the state Department of Finance must find that the city has complied with various other redevelopment dissolution requirements.

“It's a step in the right direction, but there's still more of a process ahead for the Successor Agency,” Davidson-Guerra said.


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