Leader Editorial: The lights go up on a new stage

Burbank’s previous claim to fame as home of “The Tonight Show” will shift by 2016 to the “Home of the Most Gigantic IKEA in the United States,” following the unanimous decision this week of the City Council to approve the Swedish retailer’s plans to build a new 470,000-square-foot store on San Fernando Boulevard.

Overall, the new IKEA will no doubt be a welcome boost to the local economy. Unfortunately, several businesses will be forced to move to allow for construction of the megastore. We urge that City Hall follow through on the promises to assist them in finding suitable new locations for their operations.

While we are in support of the store, we did share some residents’ concerns that the council was poised to give IKEA up to $1.2 million over seven years, under a proposal that would have returned half the increase in sales tax revenue the new store would be generating. The city of Burbank should not have been contemplating such generous taxpayer assistance to a wealthy multinational business. Wisely, the council thought better of that scheme and rejected it this week before granting approval to the project.

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