The Burbank City Council has approved a new mega IKEA store with a unanimous 5-0 Vote following a marathon public hearing last night that went to 1AM. The new store to be located on the old Menasco Manufacturing site @ 805 S. San Fernando Blvd. (between Verdugo & Alameda) will be the largest IKEA in the world @ 470,000 sqft, roughly double the size of the current store, with a 12,000 sqft Restaurant and 1726 underground parking spaces. Construction is set to begin later this year with a Summer 2016 target opening. The new site will have 2 primary entrances/exits, one at the intersection of San Fernando & Elmwood (new Traffic signals & crosswalks will be installed there), and the other on Providencia @ First St., which will be expanded to accommodate south-bound traffic.
The development agreement contains over 150 conditions of approval including traffic mitigations @ the busy intersection of Alameda & San Fernando that will be completed prior to the new stores opening (widening, adding an extra east bound left turning lane going north on SF & more). IKEA dropped their unpopular request to share 50% of the additional sales tax revenue the new store generates above-&-beyond current sales with a $1.2M cap, along with the 20 year sales tax diversion agreement and a potential 15k sqft utility substation property sale. The City will have the opportunity to purchase the substation land at a later date should they choose. Kudos to Vice-Mayor Dr. David Gordon who lead the charge on this issue citing last-minute correspondence with the CA Board of Equalization that suggested such an arrangement was illegal (Note: There was a sometimes heated debate about this with CM Mark Scott), and councilman Bob Frutos who was “uncomfortable” with it, and Gary Bric who eventually supported it after a 10 minute post-midnight recess to allow City Mgr. Scott to confirm IKEA’s willingness to strike it (Vote 3-2).
Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy was unsuccessful in her attempt to procure an additional $40k from IKEA to study improvements on the east side of San Fernando. to address residents concerns, such as the potential widening of pedestrian paths (Vote 1-4), but her colleagues agreed that this matter can be addressed at a later date by the Council. There were a number of minor alterations including going back to the original proposed 108ft tall freeway sign. Staff also confirmed IKEA will be required to comply with the Arts in Public Places ordinance requiring the installation of Art to the value of 1% of the projects major construction costs or a contribution to the Art’s in Public Places Fund, part of which maybe used for School Public Art Programs. It’s my hope Ikea will choose the later option, or at the very least contribute at least 0.5% to the fund for our kids.
Overall, I feel last night was a win/win; IKEA gets the bigger store they need and a fix for the major parking and merchandise pick-up issues that have plagued their current location; the City gets to keep all the extra Sales Tax revenue; and most of the traffic & environmental concerns appear to be properly mitigated so we (hopefully) don’t have a repeat of the 5-Ways disaster . There are some film/production related small businesses currently sub-leasing who had asked for relocation costs that have to find new homes and while IKEA & the City will not be providing any money (they were on a month-to-month lease and apparently did not receive notice from Western Studios who lease the property from Crown Realty), they did offer to assist them in finding suitable locations. Let’s hope they do. Now if IKEA could bring back their Wednesday Summer Movie Nights or perhaps sponsor the Downtown Summer Concert Series, I’ll be really happy.
Links: IKEA Staff Report | Staff Report Exhibits | My IKEA Public Comments
Burbank Leader story | Dr. David Gordon – CA Board of Equalization email