The Great Indoors site at the Empire Center in Burbank is still vacant and probably will be that way for a while. That doesn’t mean the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, has lost interest in constructing a proposed 143,000 square foot supercenter at 1301 North Victory Place. Not hardly.
On November 5, 2013, the Burbank City Council voted 3-2 not to appeal a judge’s ruling, which put the brakes on the project. Council members Gary Bric and Jess Talamantes supported the appeal. Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, Councilmen Dr. David Gordon, and Bob Frutos were opposed.
Several weeks earlier, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge, Allan J. Goodman, handed down a decision ordering the city to rescind building permits issued to Walmart. Goodman said the city needed to complete an environmental study and street improvements before approving those permits. The judge sided with three Burbank residents, Katherine Olson, Shanna Ingalsbee, and Yvette Ziraldo, who filed a lawsuit back in 2012 to block the Walmart store.
Despite the lack of support from the city, Walmart vowed to appeal the ruling and continue the fight. A few days after the Burbank City Council vote, Walmart quietly filed an appeal with the 2nd District Court of Appeal, according to Rachel Wall, Walmart spokesperson.
Wall sent me this company statement:
“We are committed to the Burbank store and to bringing business back to the long-vacant, former retail space. Our customers in Burbank are looking for a choice for affordable goods closer to where they live and work, and the community has been eagerly awaiting the hundreds of construction and permanent good jobs the store will create. As a result, last year we appealed the trial court decision and look forward to a ruling from the appellate court later this year. We strongly believe that our permits were granted properly, and should be treated no differently than the 1,300 similar permits granted for other Empire Center businesses since 2000.”
So the Burbank Walmart store project has taken some serious hits — but it’s not quite dead yet.
I shop in the center all the time, and live not to fair away. Personally, I would love to see a whole foods (mega store!) or another health focused grocer there. The only thing I have to make a second stop for is groceries. Just my two cents. But, I would love to see something like that in this space before a Walmart.
Although I live in Noho, I work in Burbank and nearly all of our shopping and activities are done there. It’s incredibly frustrating that the nearest Walmart to us is in Panorama city, too far for a store run when no other store carries what you’re looking for. They have the most competitive prices and in these economic times that’s important. I’ll never stop shopping at Target and there’s always need for Lowe’s, but there’s room for Walmart too. I was so excited when I learned a Walmart was opening in the Empire Center and terribly disappointed to find out someone with their own greedy agenda had to complicate things. However, I’m optimistic Walmart will prevail and I will be shopping there soon.
Don’t put a Walmart there!! A whole foods or an LA Fitness would be so much better!!!! Even a large trader joes perhaps but there’s no need for a Walmart when we have target a few steps away.
I live in Burbank and do see a need for a Walmart. I have to drive all the way to panorama city for the great deals. Target is still more expensive than Walmart and it would be bring a lot of jobs. With a lot of despair in the world we don’t need to be negating jobs to people in need just for our own greedy and selfish reasons. I am a nurse and currently unemployed, and having a wonderful career that serves the people in need give me a vision to have jobs created for people in need. We say we would like to keep this community small without a Walmart but the empire center is full of shops and one more wouldn’t make a difference. For all of you out there opposing please consider the need of people without a job. I don’t think there is one person out there with a very reasonable reason why not to help others.