In an effort to meet its state-mandated housing goals, Burbank is launching a new specific plan which could bring thousands of residents and new commercial developments to its downtown core.
The Burbank Downtown Transit Oriented Development Specific Plan, which encompasses a nearly 1,000-acre area centered on the Burbank commuter rail station, recently began its environmental review period. The project, described as a framework for new housing, development standards, and pedestrian improvements in Downtown Burbank, is expected to accommodate up to:
- 4.1 million square feet of new commercial and industrial development;
- 1,374 hotel rooms, and
- 5,626 residential units.
The proposed zoning is being developed in pursuit of a City Council goal of building 12,000 residential units citywide by 2035, as well as a requirement to zone for at least 8,772 residential units by 2028 under Burbank's regional housing needs allocation. The draft plan identifies 14 potential groupings of sites for infill development, many of which are currently improved with small industrial buildings, big box stores, surface parking, or a combination of the three.
The specific plan, as detailed in a May 2021 presentation to the Burbank City Council, is divided into multiple different subareas, distinguished by the land use patterns and the expected intensity of development.
Located at the center of the specific plan area, the Downtown District intends to retain San Fernando Boulevard as the neighborhood's main commercial spine, while also encouraging the use of alleys and paseos for outdoor seating and pedestrian circulation. More ambitiously, the plan proposes an extension of San Fernando through the site now occupied by the Burbank Town Center mall, which would allow the superblocks of the shopping center to be subdivided and redeveloped.
Additionally, plan identifies opportunities to expand Burbank's Civic Center with additional offices, park space, and a new Central Library. Perhaps most ambitiously, the plan proposes an extension
North and South San Fernando Boulevard Neighborhood
In the North San Fernando Boulevard Neighborhood, which abuts Downtown, plans call for subdividing existing superblocks with new streets, while also enabling new multifamily buildings with street-fronting porches and stoops. Several large properties along San Fernando Road and 3rd Street are identified as potential sites of infill developments.
Similar building forms are imagined for the residential district to the south of Downtown, though the area lacks the large commercial sites which lend themselves to redevelopment.
South San Fernando Boulevard District
Bounded by Verdugo Road, San Fernando Boulevard, and the I-5 Freeway, the South San Fernando Boulevard District is characterized by large industrial and commercial buildings. The specific plan envisions gradual redevelopment of the area over time - concentrated on San Fernando Boulevard - while also enabling the adaptive reuse of some of the surrounding commercial buildings.
Olive Avenue TOD District
Located to the west of Metrolink's Burbank Station, the Olive Avenue TOD District is proposed as a walkable neighborhood incorporating a mix of industrial, office, commercial, and hospitality uses. Large blocks of more than four acres of size are proposed to be subdivided with new streets, while Victory Boulevard would be elevated as the neighborhood’s central commercial spine.
In addition to the existing Metrolink stop, the Olive Avenue district would also host future stops on Metro's North Hollywood-Pasadena bus rapid transit line.
Victory Boulevard Creative and Industrial Corridor
To the north of the Metrolink Station, the proposed Victory Boulevard Creative and Industrial Corridor would retain existing industrial land uses, while also providing the opportunity for some buildings to transition toward office space. The area is already home to one of the largest proposed developments in the City of Burbank: the $375-million La Terra Select complex that would bring 573 apartments and a 300-room hotel to an empty lot at 777 N. Front Street.
Outside of development standards and zoning rules, the specific plan would also lay out measures for improved pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure - particularly near the Metrolink Station - as well as new streetscape elements.
The comment period in advance of the project's environmental impact report will run through June 18 at 5:00 pm. More information is available at the TOD plan's website.
Concurrent with the Downtown plan, Burbank is also considering updated zoning which could facilitate the construction of as many as 5,000 homes in the neighborhoods located east of Hollywood Burbank Airport.
- Burbank (Urbanize LA)