Tag Archives: cusumano real estate group

Providencia Orchestra Performs At ETM-LA Gala Honoring Cusumano Real Estate Group, Rickey Minor & Angela Woo

Students from Providencia Elementary’s string orchestra performed at the 14th annual Education Through Music-Los Angeles (ETM-LA) Benefit Gala honoring the Cusumano Real Estate Group, educator Angela Woo and Emmy-award winning music producer and director Rickey Minor with Shining Star Awards.

Held on Sunday, November 10, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the annual gala raises funds and awareness for supporting music programs in disadvantaged L.A. County schools.

Students from Providencia Elementary’s string orchestra perform at the 14th annual ETM-LA Benefit Gala on November 19, 2019. (Photo Courtesy Danny Moloshok)

Emmy-nominated actor and comedian Anthony Anderson, who currently stars in ABC’s black-ish, opened the affair. Students from Burbank’s Providencia Elementary School string orchestra and Los Angeles’ Hooper Avenue Elementary School choir, along with ETM-LA alumni performed for the audience.

Grammy-nominated vocalist Ledisi performed a rousing Aretha Franklin tribute, backed by the Rickey Minor Band. Grammy-nominated saxophonist David Koz also impressed the audience.

“I would not be who I am if it weren’t for organizations like ETM-LA,” said Ledisi, acknowledging she benefited from in-school music education, as she also thanked Minor for his long-time mentorship.

Education Through Music-Los Angeles (ETM-LA) Shining Star Artist honoree Rickey Minor, left, dances onto the stage as actress and dancer Debbie Allen, right, introduces him during the Education Through Music Los Angeles 14th annual Benefit Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Sunday, November 10, 2019, in Beverly Hills, CA. (Photo Courtesy Danny Moloshok)

Emmy-award winning director and choreographer Debbie Allen presented Minor with his Shining Star Award. Music education Michael Stone and former Mayor of Burbank Michael Hasting also presented awards.

“Music has changed not only my life, but it changes the vibration of this planet,” commented Minor. “Through music, we can make this world a better place.”

“I love what I do… I look forward every day to being inspired by my students,” said honoree Woo, who has taught for over 25 years and is the Director of Instrumental Music and Chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica.

Michael Cusumano accepts the ETM-LA Shining Star Award on behalf of Cusumano Real Estate Group. (Photo Courtesy Danny Moloshok)

“Education is really important in order for people to have full and successful lives,” stated Michael Cusumano, who received the Shining Star Award on behalf of his company, Cusumano Real Estate Group. “Music is an integral part of the education that our children should receive.”

Lola Debney and Alecia Spendlove served as Co-Chairs of the gala.

Honorary hosts included Christophe Beck, Andra Day, John Debney, Michael Giacchino, Jennifer Hudson, Quincy Jones, John Legend, Diana Ross, Randy Spendlove and Diane Warren.

More celebrities were sprinkled through the audience including Ernie Fields, Jr., Julianne Jordan, Christopher Lennertz, Manny and Terri Marroquin, Carin and Mark McGrath, Blake Neely, Rudy Sarzo, Rob Simonsen and Joseph Trapanese.

The Education Through Music-Los Angeles 14th annual Benefit Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Sunday, November 10, 2019 in Beverly Hills, CA. (Photo Courtesy Danny Moloshok)

“We are grateful to our amazing honorees – true shining stars – for championing quality music education for all children in local disadvantaged schools,” commented ETM-LA Executive Director Victoria Lanier. “They demonstrate leadership in furthering our mission to ensure all students have an equal opportunity to reach their fullest potential through music and the arts.”

More images from the event can be found on the ETM-LA website here.

Currently, ETM-LA serves approximately 17,500 students with weekly music as part of the core
curriculum in the communities of Bellflower, Boyle Heights, Burbank, Compton, Chinatown, ​Downtown LA, ​East LA, Inglewood, ​Pasadena, South Central L.A. and throughout the San Fernando Valley.

Talaria Officially Opens With Ribbon Cutting And Premiere Party

On Wednesday, February 27, the Cusumano Development Team saw 12 years of planning and hard work come to fruition while they and 400 guests watched as the ribbon was cut for the new Talaria mixed-use building.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

In the garden courtyard of the new complex, Michael Cusumano shared some reflections and observations. Since his team started work on the project, the City has had five City Managers; when he started there was Mary Alvord, then came Mike Flad, Ken Pulskamp, Mark Scott and now Ron Davis. It was hard enough to keep one city manager happy yet he kept five happy.

They started in 2007 with a dream, a vision to build a community in the media district that was unlike any community that had been built before in this region, Cusumano said.

Those who have been watching for 12 years recall the site was 24 different parcels of land on two blocks. In the beginning, it wasn’t clear that they would ever be able to buy all of the parcels that were necessary to consolidate the site. Then the financial world fell apart in September of 2008. The team could have walked away but they continued to trust that in the end, it would all come together and they would build the project that they had always dreamed about.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Cusumano said there were hundreds of people that played important roles in the development of the project and contributed hours.

From the beginning, Whole Foods has been a wonderful part of the project, he said.

“They were committed to this site and this project from day one, they never wavered or flinched in their commitment and when they opened their doors on June 20, 2018, the public got to see their long-awaited Whole Food Burbank. It’s been noted that the store is one of the most beautiful stores in the world and to date one of the most successful in the Whole Food Chain.”

The project architect, Gustaf Soderberg and his team from VTBS, have been able to capture the design of a community that was dreamed of in the beginning. “They were the design masters in what is being acknowledged as one of the most exciting designs anywhere in the Los Angeles area.”

Cusumano also acknowledged Nadia Geller Designs who are also based here in Burbank and were responsible for all of the interior designs and furnishing. The other big part of the development was Burbank based McCormick Construction who oversaw the complete construction of the complex project.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Cusumano took time to acknowledge one person very important from the beginning and that was Michael Hastings. “He never would let any issue dampen his enthusiasm for this project.” Cusumano said it was Michael who coined the name “Talaria” and he had taken pride in the project the same as the Cusumano team.

Cusumano also thanked his team at Cusumano Real Estate Group. On this project, his partners had been steadfast in their commitment and belief in the project. He shared that his wife Caroline will now have him back after working 80 hour weeks and he was happy to work with his son Tanner on his first project.

The Taleria project is Burbank’s only Green Certified residential community certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

The living units consist of one, two and three bedroom units with a total of 241 units. Some of the amenities include: in-home dining, fully equipped fitness center with spa facilities, saunas, messages rooms, a pool with lap swimming and a private screening room. The garden where the party was held includes fire pits, BBQs, green lawn and an area private for dog owners.

Here is a gallery of pictures from the party. Click on the frames to enlarge it.






Pennies Spent Today are Dollars Saved Tomorrow

When Michael Cusumano was growing up in Burbank and playing Vikings football, enjoying the annual Jaycee carnival at McCambridge Park and riding his bicycle to Jefferson Elementary School, he hadn’t heard of Family Service Agency, though they’d been quietly working in our city for twenty years.

Michael Cusumano (Photo by Ross A Benson)

When he went to 5th and 6th grades at McKinley and moved on to Jordan Junior High and John Burroughs High School before getting his degree in economics at UCLA in 1984, the work being done by Family Service Agency wasn’t on his radar, though they’d been changing and saving lives in Burbank for thirty years.

And as he joined and expanded his family’s successful real estate company in Burbank, and volunteered for and supported numerous organizations in the community, Family Service Agency hadn’t crossed his path even though they’d been discreetly offering support and counseling services to Burbankians for forty years.

But ten years ago, after Family Service Agency had been serving our community for fifty-five years and had long outgrown its small space on Magnolia Blvd., then Burbank Mayor, Marsha Ramos approached Cusumano about a unique opportunity. The city was prepared to purchase a building for FSA on the condition that they could come up with the necessary funding to essentially gut and remodel the interior and purposefully design the space for their services.

The Cusumano family saw an investment in the future. With a $150,000 commitment that inspired additional donations and helped secure the necessary financing, Family Service Agency has been able to expand their reach over the past decade from their home on Burbank Blvd.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

“The investment made by the Cusumanos at that time was integral to a successful fundraising campaign, but more importantly, they established a key partnership that has enabled the delivery of outstanding services,” explained Ramos.

Cusumano was surprised to learn about the diversity of consequential work the Agency had been discreetly doing in our community for decades. Ramos along with Anja Reinke, Michael Wilford, Zeta LeFebvre and Mary Alice O’Connor introduced him to FSA’s growing efforts in the local schools, their work with victims of domestic abuse and with families and individuals in crisis. Then-Police Chief, Tom Hoefel, shared how valuable FSA is as a court intervention resource.

Laurie Bleick has served as Executive Director of FSA since 1991. She knows first hand what a difference the new building has meant to the organization’s services. “The Cusumano family’s lead donation to our building capital campaign has allowed FSA to increase Burbank’s mental health care for 19 BUSD schools, for families in our 3 transitional homes as well as for individuals, couples and families at our site on Burbank Blvd. by over 400% in the past ten years,” Bleick explained.

And in the decade since the building dream came to fruition, FSA’s financial stewardship has high marks as well. The organization has paid off the loan that renovated their space while giving 5 to 7 million dollars in counseling services annually on a budget of less than $1.4 million a year. Numbers like that are impressive to a businessman like Cusumano, but the personal success stories are what solidified his commitment to ensuring that FSA can continue and expand their work in the Burbank community.

And while Cusumano knows that FSA’s work crosses socio-economic and racial lines and affects all ages, it is the kids who most pull on his heartstrings and therefore on his purse-strings.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

His most striking memory was of touring the art studio and seeing the paintings, drawings, and sculptures done by children and teens. “They say art is a window into the soul,” Cusumano explains, “And when young people who are unable to express themselves verbally have the chance to do so through art it can have a real impact.” He was moved by the pieces created by children clearly struggling with heartbreaking challenges. “But then you see the pieces they’ve done once they are healed, and the hope and emotion that is expressed there is profound,” he explained. “When I saw that, I was sold.”

Cusumano is also impressed by the work FSA has long been doing in the Burbank schools where he has collaborated as a business partner with several Principals. “Kids bring the weight of their problems from home into their classrooms and it is impossible to expect them to learn without additional support,” said Cusumano, “Having a resource like what FSA provides so many families is crucial in the formative years.”

When he hears from principals about the needs in the schools and police officers describe the importance of intervention and the requirements for court-ordered counseling, it is clear to Cusumano that pennies spent today are indeed dollars saved tomorrow.

He realizes he was fortunate that when he was growing up in Burbank, he didn’t need the services offered by FSA. But he is grateful that the organization is now on his radar and he can do something to help. “I come from a big family. My wife, Caroline, and I have done some fostering and when I look at kids who are vulnerable and have to grow up in dangerous or uncomfortable homes, it is daunting, but we as a community can do something to alleviate that suffering and it is worth the investment.”

As Family Service Agency celebrates their 65th Anniversary this year, Cusumano hopes that the investments his family has made inspire others to get involved. Laurie Bleick and her team are truly thankful. “The impact of the Cusumano’s compassionate leadership is immeasurable,” said Bleick, “Their quiet generosity allows for a stronger, safer, healthier Burbank and I will be forever grateful for their constant commitment to Burbank’s most fragile children, adults and families.”

New Apartments, Businesses Included in Olive Stations Project

With a new influx of multi-use buildings heading to Burbank, one that is making a splash is the Olive Station development. The site of the future building can be located at the southeast intersection of Olive Boulevard and Lake Avenue. The land is currently owned by the Cusumano Real Estate Group.

In total, the building will feature 327 studios, one bedroom, two bedroom, three bedroom, and four-bedroom apartments. The variety in apartments is meant to provide options in affordable housing to Burbank residents. Hired to design the building will be the award-winning architectural firm Newman Garrison + Partners.

When asked why the Cusumano Real Estate Group when with Newman Garrison + Partners, Michael Cusumano said:

“We conducted an exhaustive search of all of the best design firms in this region, and went as far as to engage five different firms to produce concept drawings for the site, before finally selecting the firm of Newman-Garrison (NG+P) to design the project. And NG+P hit it out of the park. As is evidenced by the design submitted, and their plethora of design awards, Newman-Garrison will bring a new, cutting edge design to Burbank, and set the standard for all future mixed-use projects in the City. (NG+P) has completed projects in Spain, India, Russia, and in the Caribbean, as well as California, where they have designed some of the most recognizable southern California buildings in recent years such as West Park at Civita, The Ellington, The Q East, and the Dylan.

Olive Station will be an architectural landmark as well as a really fantastic place to live. Our team also includes such acclaimed firms as EPT Design (landscape architecture), KGM Architectural Lighting, and John Labib + Associates (structural and civil engineering).”

The goal of this building is to offer a choice to millennials and families alike. Cusumano hopes potential residents will take notice to Olive Stations’ location, amenities, design, sustainability, lifestyle, Affordability.”

To entice potential residents, plans for the building also include a an array of common spaces, which include a game room, a bocce ball course, a resort-style pool and spa with cabanas, outdoor dining/BBQ areas, fire pits, retail stores, an outdoor movie theatre, a media center, terrace amenities, a club/lounge area with a private wine room, and a state-of-art fitness center. Located at the ground floor will be a commercial grocery store.

When asked how Olive Stations plans to combat the affordable housing problem in Burbank, Cusuamano said; “First of all, no one has ever built “live-work” loft units in Burbank, and there are almost no 3 and 4-bedroom units in Burbank. No one has ever built this type of a project in Burbank. The Co-Work spaces will also appeal to millennials as well. And this will be the first project in many years where the Developer is including rent restricted affordable units. And great access to employment, Downtown Burbank and Metrolink station. Families, millennials, boomers; everyone will be attracted to this project.”

Olive Stations is expected to be completed by the year 2021. You can find the full list of amenities and features, provided by the Cusumano Real Estate Group, down below:

  • Amenities:
    • Full concierge service
    • Resort style lap pool & spa
    • Huge common spaces with fire features
    • Seating and cabanas throughout courtyards
    • Outdoor kitchen and dining areas
    • BBQ kitchen and outdoor dining
    • Beautiful garden landscaping
    • Water features
    • Several large lounging areas
    • Private lounge with billiard tables, big screen TV’s
    • High speed internet and Wifi
    • Screening and media room
    • Private fitness club with state of the art equipment, with spin and yoga studio
    • Business center with conference room, computers and professional print/ scan/ copy/ fax stations
    • Dry-cleaning and laundry drop-off and pick-up services
    • Private spa facilities for sauna and massages
    • Zip-Car access
    • Wine storage facility
    • On-site ATM
    • Bicycle parking, storage and maintenance with bike shop
    • EV charging stations
    • Ample guest parking
    • Gated community with key fob access controls
    • Roof top deck and lounge with bar, big screen TV’s and fire features
    • Dog park
    • Solar water heating
    • Solar PV
    • Co-work space
    • Extra storage facilities
    • 24 Hour package pick up and drop off system
    • Highspeed Electric Elevators

Apartment Homes:

  • Features:
    • Gourmet stainless steel “Jenn-Air” kitchen appliances
    • AT&T U-Verse with fiber cable to the units and 1G internet speeds
    • Stone countertops
    • Designer cabinets
    • 9’-11’ ceilings
    • High efficiency “Whirlpool” washer and gas dryer in units
    • Large private balconies
    • Private yards (selected units)
    • Fireplaces (some units)
    • Oversized walk-in closets with custom shelving
    • Energy efficient dual glazed windows throughout
    • Upgraded finishes throughout
    • Low VOC carpets, paints, and adhesives


Cusumano Real Estate Group Receives BTAC’s Burbank Top Award for Citizenship

That giving spirit was felt around the room when supporters of Burbank Temporary Aid Center recognized the Cusumano Real Estate Group.

The Cusumano family and employees — who feel like family –received the BTAC, which is the acronym for the Burbank Top Award for Citizenship as well as the center. There were about 360 guests sharing in the excitement at the 13th annual dinner gala on March 4 at the Castaway Starlight Room.

Master of ceremonies Michael Hastings reminded people of how fortunate they were to be sitting at their tables enjoying a wonderful dinner.

“How many of those who BTAC serves would love to be in your seats tonight?” he asked the crowd. “I think that is something you should all think about as you are here tonight. Put yourself in someone else’s seat. BTAC reaches out to those who are less fortunate.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

After listing the dignitaries from City Council, city of Burbank, Burbank Police Department, School Board and others, Hastings asked all for a moment of silence in honor of community volunteer Barbara Sykes, who passed away in February. Sykes gave numerous hours to the Boys & Girls Club and Burbank Coordinating Council, to name a few.

“You can’t fill her shoes,” he said. “We’ve lost a great member of our community. I ask you tonight to look around the room and pick out 10 or 20 people who could fill her shoes. God bless her soul — Barbara Sykes.”

Ron Cogan, board of directors chair, said what a joy it was to be in a room surrounded by 300 or 400 people who will come together for the sole purpose of making our world a little better. He also sent out kudos to Chief Executive Officer Barbara Howell and her staff.

“They pull off the work of a crew two or three times their size,” he said. “I don’t know how you guys do it!”

Cogan thanked the crowd for giving “certainty” to people who are lacking it when it comes to essentials — a home filled with food and other needs.

BTAC Volunteer Terry Hassman-Paulin told the crowd how she started her second career after retiring from Kaiser Permanente. At the beginning, she feared she wouldn’t be able to relate to the clients and be compassionate to their needs.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“But after a few weeks of service I began to see that what we share as human beings is greater than our differences,” she said. “They have hopes and dreams as much as we have.”

She shared a story about a man in his 20s who came to the center with just a backpack. After an interview, they gave him a sack lunch and some clothing and he met the job counselor who laid out a long range of options for short-term work and long-term career development.

“So in the course of a couple hours, this young man went from homeless and hopeless to someone with options and hope,” she said. “To me this was at least a minor miracle.”

Volunteering, she said in closing, is a “humbling and wonderful experience that I recommend to you all!”

Hastings conducted the official recognition portion of the evening, thanking the Cusumano family for the many organizations they support in the community, such as BTAC, Family Service Agency, Boys & Girls Club, Memorial Field, public and private schools and Providence St. Joseph Medical Center.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“They are not just contributors, they are substantial stakeholders in everything that they do within this community,” he said.

Chief Executive Officer Howell said that when she approached the Cusumano family about being honored, they said no, that it has to be the Cusumano Real Estate Group because it takes everyone there to make it successful.

“When I was at their offices a few weeks ago, I realized we were honoring the Cusumano family because all the employees feel like they are family,” she said. “I just want to say thank you for all you do for the community, for us and the advice and the warmth you have given BTAC.”

Representing the family was Michael Cusumano.

“This honor is even more special to be given in front of a full room of people we’ve known for many years, for decades and that we love and respect,” he said.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

He thanked the many people for filling the room in support of BTAC — a mainstay in the community for more than 40 years, which serves as a safety net for those in need.

“We are so fortunate to have this organization and we feel so fortunate to be a part of it and be able to support that community,” Cusumano said. “BTAC is more than just an organization, it is a group of fantastic people, employees, CEO, their fantastic volunteers, wonderful board of directors and donors who make it possible for them to do what they do in the community.”

Cusumano made special mention of longtime board member Darryl Forbes, who missed the dinner due to illness. Forbes joined the Burbank Fire Department in 1966. Over his 34-year career, he advanced through the ranks going from firefighter, engineer, captain and battalion chief and retired as fire marshal in 2000.

“Forbes represents so much of what BTAC is,” he said. “He has been with the organization since the beginning. The firefighters played a huge role in creating BTAC in the 1970s and Darryl has for 40 years been a big part of this organization and a board member for 17 years.”

Cusumano also thanked Michael Walbrecht for serving on so many boards in town including BTAC.

“For as long as I can remember, he has been a guiding light at BTAC,” he said.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Cusumano also lauded the work of CEO Howell.

“There is no more committed a person in this community than Barbara Howell,” he said. “And over the past years I have worked with her, I have walked away from every community meeting in awe. She loves this community. She loves others more than herself. She has hundreds of clients and each one of them is an important person to her.”

He added how proud he is that so many Cusumano employees volunteer in so many capacities, including Jessa Freemyer, a volunteer with Burbank Noon Rotary and Leadership Burbank Alumni Assn.; Renee Johnson, who gives to Family Promise of the Verdugos and Leadership Burbank Alumni Assn.; and Barbara Bartman, who dedicates time to the Burbank Veterans Committee, Burbank Historical Society and Burbank On Parade.

Michael also recognized the founders of the company — his uncle Roger Cusumano and father Chuck Cusumano. He also introduced his brother, Charlie, who also works in the company; his is mother Diane and Roger’s wife Evelyn.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Proceeds from the gala help BTAC provide assistance to the homeless as well as those who just need help getting back on their feet after a layoff, Howell said. Someone might need job training. Others might need help playing their utilities or partial rent until they get another job. Proceeds also cover BTAC’s utility bills. For example, electricity is needed to run commercial refrigerators and freezers to store the food. Gas and water are needed to provide showers and laundry facilities for the homeless at the center.

“So proceeds will help BTAC better serve and reach more people,” Howell said.

A little known fact is that BTAC’s client base is only 10% homeless, she added. There are invisible thousands who come to get groceries, meet with case managers, receive help with paying their bills, find affordable housing, a second job or better paying job.

“By far the bulk of our time is spent helping people from becoming homeless,” she said.

Howell introduced her staff, Andrea Alejandre, Catherine Bourgeois, Francesca Gallard, Lucretia Rimmer, Edward Stapleton, Kelley Tabor and Alyson Westfall.

Serving on the dinner committee were Dee Call, Kimberley Clark, Jessa Freemyer, Maddy Horne, Nancy Gams Korb, Silvia Mancini, Linda Noel, Leslie Smith, Lauri Veverka and Vicki Williams.

The live auction item that brought the most excitement was a rescue dog –a 10-week-old Yorkie Terrier named Captain. His life will be filled with magical moments because he went home with Mike Thomas and his wife, Jamie Keyser Thomas from Disney Studios.

Mary Daly of Burbank won a three-month membership to the Burbank Community YMCA.

“I was hoping to start exercising so now I’m forced into it,” she said with a laugh.

Link to additional photo gallery:http://rossbensonphotography.photoreflect.com/store/thumbpage.aspx?e=9785627

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)



McKinley Faculty Lounge Gets A Makeover

McKinley Elementary School teachers and staff have a newly renovated Faculty Lounge in which to enjoy breaks and lunch during the school day. Michael Cusumano of the Cusumano Real Estate Group, who is Principal Liz Costella’s business partner as part of a BUSD school/business partnership, donated the funds and supplies.

“In one of our meetings, I told him I wanted to make over the lounge as a gift for the staff,” explained Costella. “I was hoping for some new tables and maybe some chairs but never dreamed the outcome would be this wonderful and such a wonderful partnership. Michael ran with the idea and enlisted Tim Nelson from his office to be the project manager.”

Michael Cusumano and Liz Costella in the new McKinleyFaculty Lounge. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Michael Cusumano and Liz Costella in the new McKinleyFaculty Lounge. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Nelson set up a design competition with Woodbury University students, led by Woodbury faculty Catherine Roussel and Annie Chu, who organized and mentored the students’ work.

“The William McKinley Faculty Lounge project became a collaboration with Woodbury University and Michael Cusumano,” commented Nelson. “We wanted to offer a real-world project to the students at Woodbury and came up with a design competition partnered with the two student groups.”

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

“AIAS (American Institute of Architectural Students) and IIDS (International Interior Design Association) student organizations helped me come up with a design charrette that required students to form groups of at least four students (two architecture students and two interior design students) to collaborate and present their design to a panel that consisted of Michael Cusumano, Liz Costella and a few Woodbury faculty,” explained Nelson.

“The groups were given a budget for the project which they had to expense out in their proposal just like one would have to for a real-world project.”

The winning team consisted of Dylan Bachar, Cory Pham, Marieam Alhamody and Cynthia Nyirinkwaya. They were then tasked with working with Nelson to source vendors and revise the design to Costella’s recommendations.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Cusumano also donated 21 chairs, that were not part of the overall budget, which were then stripped, sanded, re-stained and reupholstered to fit the design. Cusumano Group employees donated their time to assemble the furniture and arrange the room.

The overall project from competition to completion took 4 months and cost $10,000, according to Nelson.

“Tim and his team worked all summer to buy the items and put the lounge together,” Costella said. “He personally stripped and stained all 21 chairs every night after work for over a month. This was also possible with the help of my office manager who was here during his time off to help let in the crew as well as help.”

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“Not only did he help with the final touches but he donated his time installing ceiling tiles and anything else that was needed,” she added.

“This project was truly a collaboration between many participants and we are so grateful to be a part of it. The lounge is amazing and such a gift for our staff everyone loves it and feels so fortunate to have this incredible room at McKinley.”

“I am forever grateful to Michael for his support and helping me accomplish this,” Costella also said. “It is beyond my wildest dreams and we are so lucky to have this opportunity.”

‘Talaria At Burbank’ Envisions Progressive, Eco-Friendly Future

Earlier in 2013, the Cusumano Real Estate Group announced plans for ‘Talaria at Burbank,’ an innovative mixed-use residential and retail building to be located on a parcel of land bordered by the 134 Freeway, Alameda Ave. to the north, Lima St. to the east and Olive Ave. on the south. Pending approvals from the City on the project, the anticipated timeline includes plans to break ground in the summer of 2014, with completion by early 2017.

Olive Ave. and Lima Street perspective of proposed Talaria at Burbank. (Image Courtesy of Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh, AIA)

Olive Ave. and Lima St. perspective of proposed Talaria at Burbank. (Image Courtesy of Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh, AIA)

The area surrounding the Talaria project consists of primarily large office buildings housing NBC, Clear Channel and Warner Bros., with Disney, KCET, Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital and many more large companies and medical offices nearby. North of Alameda Ave. lies a large residential neighborhood of mostly single family homes and some small apartment buildings.

“We believe that there are a lot of employees that work in the general vicinity of this project that would be natural tenants here because they could walk to work and would enjoy the benefits of the many amenities that have been included in this project,” comments Cusumano Real Estate President Michael Cusumano. “We believe that many employees in the area that now drive home to Pasadena, Glendale or downtown Los Angeles would prefer to live in Burbank if the right property was available to them, and we have designed Talaria at Burbank to be just the property.”

Michael Cusumano looks at plans for Talaria at Burbank above the proposed development site. (Photo By Ross A. Benson)

Michael Cusumano looks at plans for Talaria at Burbank above the proposed development site. (Photo By Ross A. Benson)

The building is projected to have five floors and cover 404,933 gross square feet, costing about $150 million dollars overall. The Whole Foods store will be on ground level, with four floors of apartments above. Although building/city code only requires 665 parking spaces, 760 total parking spaces are planned. The Whole Foods Market is projected to be about 43,000 square feet. One-bedroom (821-1,010 sf), two-bedroom (1,255 – 1,492 sf) and three-bedroom (1,466 – 2,834 sf) apartments are planned for a total of 241 units.

Talaria at Burbank will be the first LEED-certified, “green” residential building in the City of Burbank. It will offer a state-of-the-art Whole Foods Market featuring a host of amenities the developers believe will be attractive to Burbank residents, including a restaurant with a patio and a beer, wine and liquors service. The store will feature plenty of bicycle parking for both employees and guests, as well as the Whole Foods’ customary, comprehensive array of fresh and organic produce, meats, seafoods, cheeses, wines and prepared foods.

Whole Foods Market, Olive Ave. entrance view. (Image Courtesy of Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh, AIA)

Whole Foods Market, Olive Ave. entrance view. (Image Courtesy of Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh, AIA)

The Talaria facility will be within walking distance to tens of thousands of media jobs and media employees whom the Cusumano Group believe to be ideal customers for both the Whole Foods Market and the Talaria apartments. The residential component will feature a host of amenities not matched by any other residential community previously built in Burbank, including electrical car charging stations, secure resident bike storage, a bike work shop, plentiful guest car and bike parking, a business center with conference room, a gym with weights, treadmills, spin studio, locker rooms and steam rooms, a large lounge are opening onto a resort-style pool with water and fire features and cabana, outdoor barbeque and dining areas.

The proposed site for Talaria at Burbank was first considered for development in the early 2000s. Another developer began to consolidate the various properties which now make up the site, comprised of more than 16 separate properties and 24 separate parcels. That developer successfully entitled the site for a mixed-use project that was nine stories in height, consisting of more than 500,000 square feet. However, the developer was not able to acquire all of the parts of the site from the various owners and the site became available. The Cusumano Real Estate Group acquired a portion of the site in 2008 and the rest of the site in 2009 and has been working on the Talaria plan since that time. Whole Foods proposed a significantly larger Whole Foods store in 2006 in the Burbank Rancho area which was rejected by the City.

The Cusumano Real Estate Group has completed a number of successful mixed-use commercial projects, but Talaria represents their first mixed-use retail and residential project. The project architect is Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh from Santa Monica, landscape and outdoor space architect is Melendrez Landscape Architects from Los Angeles, the LEED consultants are Homage Design from Los Angeles and A Sustainable Production from Sherman Oaks and the consulting general contractor is McCormick Construction from Burbank. Mr. Cusumano adds, “We anticipate using many local Burbank sub-contractors to work on the project, as we always do.”

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Street-level view of part of the proposed Talaria at Burbank site. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Other projects the Cusumano Real Estate Group has built in Burbank are the Cusumano Civic Plaza at 250 E. Olive Ave., the Olive Court Senior Apartments at 450 E. Olive Ave., Cusumano Plaza (Chase Bank Building/Elephant Bar) at 100 N. First St., Olive Court Senior Apartments at 1100 W. Olive Ave., Park Avenue Senior Apartments at 730 Whitnall Highway and the BJ’s Restaurant/Cusumano Real Estate Group Building at 101 S. First Street.

The Cusumano Real Estate Group has discussed and prepared for the relocation concerns of the current tenants in the few remaining, aging apartment buildings on the proposed site. “We will work with the existing tenants to relocate them to other properties in Burbank once the project is approved,” explains Mr. Cusumano. “The Cusumano Real Estate Group is the largest owner of apartments in the City of Burbank and we will be able to move the existing residents into other properties that we own more effectively than if another, ‘outside developer,’ simply bought the properties. We are in the apartment business; every month we rent 30-60 properties to new residential tenants. Relocating the forty or so households from this site will occur over a period of several months.”

“In the 1980s and 1990s, we built dozens of new apartment complexes throughout Burbank, which required the removal of older apartments and homes,” continues Mr. Cusumano. “And during that time, we relocated dozens of households.”

Talaria is the name of the winged shoes of the god Hermes or Mercury of classical mythology. “The Talaria carried the gods upward and was therefore, ‘uplifting,'” explains Mr. Cusumano. “Which is what we want this project to be.”

Future meetings on Talaria will be held, with times and dates to be announced. Burbank residents can get more information on this project and contact the Cusumano Real Estate Group by visiting the project website.