Tag Archives: IKEA

Serial Ikea Mattress Thief Caught

Over the past several months, Burbank Police have been investigating a series of grand theft and burglary crimes with information provided by Ikea security and loss prevention officers.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

A suspect had been seen stealing mattresses from Ikea, often without being noticed, but other times by providing falsified documentation claiming he owned the products.

Burbank detectives identified the suspect and partnered with Ikea staff to monitor his visits, as he returned to the store several times.

On September 27, the suspect attempted to steal another mattress but was soon apprehended by police.

The suspect has been identified as Kevin Estrella, 23  with the occupation listed as a student living in Los Angeles.

The total estimated loss is valued at over $42,432.00.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Estrella is currently out of custody after posting bond. Formal charges are now pending review by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Ikea is located at 600 South Ikea Way in Burbank.

Phallic Ikea Statue Raises Controversy

By Timothy Mably

This week, an abstract sculpture which appeared outside Ikea has been turning heads and gaining attention for its phallic shape.

Ikea reportedly commissioned the piece which is said to be part of a larger art installation coming soon. However, the furniture retailer has not commented on the design’s intent, or what to expect from the completed installation.

“I want to know what @ikeausa thinks the sculptor was intending. What was their point with this ‘piece of art?’” tweeted @AlyseCourtney7.

Based on Twitter threads, many locals agree that the statue is a bizarre and inappropriate addition to Ikea.

“They paid MONEY for this? I may not know art – but I know UGLY garbage when I see it!” tweeted @LENNONPhotos.

Although the sculpture is stirring up controversy from residents who want answers, others have taken to laughing it off.

“Really digging the lawn statue in front of the ‘biggest’ @IKEA in America. Nice going fellas,” tweeted @ArtByNateRowe.

Ikea plans to officially unveil the completed art installation next week.

Traffic Commissioners would like to see ‘Ikea Way’ Extended

As construction continues on the new IKEA on San Fernando Boulevard, city officials are looking into how to better manage traffic to and from the store.

Last year, the City Council approved the name IKEA Way for the new section of First Street (from Providencia to Santa Anita avenues) and Traffic Commissioners would like to see the street name extend further north so that the road would tie in to the freeway interchange at Olive Avenue and Verdugo Avenue, said Justin Hess, Burbank’s assistant city manager and interim community development director.

City Engineer Ken Johnson said the “potential street renaming is to better equalize traffic entering and exiting the new IKEA site,” and commissioners are scheduled to discuss the matter next month. The council will then address the matter early next year.

The purpose for renaming the street is not just to promote IKEA, Johnson said.

Johnson said the traffic report for the project indicates the interchanges that will be affected will be Alameda Avenue and Verdugo and Angeleno avenues.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Site of new Ikea store (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“Alameda will be more impacted, and there are a number of traffic improvements planned there,” Johnson said. “But if we can shift as many cars to Angeleno, that would really help. If we can name the street up to that area, it’s possible we could get a sign on the freeway.”

That sign could direct shoppers to exit at IKEA Way, Johnson said.

Johnson noted that the large IKEA store sign will be visible from the freeway, but for those traveling south, they may not see the sign until they pass, or are at, Verdugo, and would likely exit Alameda.

“So if we could make people aware of IKEA Way, they could exit Verdugo,” Johnson. “IKEA has directional signage [that people will see] once they get off the freeway. It is ideal to exit Verdugo and use IKEA Way, and we want to make people aware of it as soon as possible.”

There are four businesses that have addresses on First Street in that area, and two of them, a hotel and restaurant, have no problem with the name change, Johnson said.

A small business and another business oppose it, although one of the two may be moving, Johnson said, adding there do not appear to be “material issues associated with the renaming” in a city staff report.

David Kriske, assistant community development director for transportation, said the traffic study for the project assumed about 6,800 trips per day will travel to IKEA on a Saturday, the day the most people are expected.

Of those trips, the study assumed about 58% would travel on IKEA Way, meaning 3,900 trips on a Saturday, Kriske said, adding that there would be some other trips using IKEA Way to access local uses.

“It’s hoped that the street name change will help guide most of the traffic to use IKEA Way to access the site (rather than San Fernando and Alameda),” Kriske said. “In fact, we hope that the name change will divert more than 58% of the traffic onto this street. But we don’t have a hard estimate for how many trips would be diverted just because of the name change.”

Kriske said he hoped the number traveling on IKEA Way would go up and also hoped it maintained at 58%.

“Traffic engineering is a lot of judgement and forecasting, it’s not always perfect,” Kriske said. “The purpose of the renaming is to doubly reinforce that we want IKEA Way and Olive and Verdugo to be used to get to the front door versus San Fernando and Alameda.”

The Traffic Commission is scheduled to discuss the renaming of the street on Dec. 3.

Burbank Community Day School Partners With IKEA For New Student Kitchen

City and school officials turned out to see the new IKEA-built student kitchen at the Burbank Community Day School (BCDS) on Tuesday, September 8. Visitors sampled an extensive menu made entirely by the school’s students, who included produce and herbs grown in the BCDS student garden in the recipes.

BUSD Board of Education member Armond Aghakhanian and past school board members Elena Hubbell and Debbie Kukta (current City Treasurer), BUSD Superintendent Matt Hill, Assistant Superintendent Tom Kissinger, Director Of Secondary Education John Paramo, Director of Student Services Brian O’Rourke and City of Burbank Councilmembers Emily Gabel-Luddy and Will Rogers joined a group of school staff and community volunteers to unveil the new kitchen.

(Photo by ©Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by ©Ross A. Benson)

“Burbank Community Day School would like to thank IKEA for choosing our school to receive The Life Improvement Challenge Grant in the amount of $10,000.00,” commented Principal Christine Krohn. “IKEA has worked on many wonderful projects in our community and enriched many lives, and now our students will have a chance to benefit from IKEA’s generosity.”

“Our wish was to build a kitchen so that our students can learn to cook what they have grown in their garden, reinforces the student’s potential and create possible career paths,” she went on to say. “This project was completed on July 28, 2015, just in time for the first day of school.”

(Photo by ©Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by ©Ross A. Benson)

The students at Burbank Community Day School are seventh- through twelfth-grade at-risk youth who have been moved from the traditional middle school or high school setting and placed at the school for attendance, behavior issues, grades or may be on probation or coming from a camp or in a group home, according to Krohn, “This is a second chance for our students to get back on track, make their lives better and graduate on time.”

“We strive not only to educate our students but get them involved in something that they can use throughout their lives, so we started a garden,” added Krohn. “These students respond better to hands-on activities instead of sitting in a class listening to a lecture.”

(Photo by ©Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by ©Ross A. Benson)

“The garden gives them the time to experience nature and develop life skills. Most of these students do not comprehend where their food comes from and what it takes to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables,” she continued. “So each one of our students is assigned a bed to plant whatever they want. In the end, their care produces organic crops that nourish their self-esteem and bodies.”

Krohn points to developing opportunities access to the new IKEA-built student kitchen brings, including engagement with other groups in Burbank.

“We have already started working with our District Food Service Department, selling them both non-edible flowers and edible flowers for their school events,” she mentioned.

(Photo by ©Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by ©Ross A. Benson)

“We have partnered with Burbank High School providing their culinary arts program with herbs. In exchange, the Culinary Arts teacher has agreed to have some of our students come after school to her class a couple times a semester to cook in a proper culinary environment.”

A group of senior citizens works with BCDS students in the garden, and once every two weeks, teaches students how to cook various dishes.

“It is amazing how good our students are when it comes to cooking. A lot of them have to cook at home for their siblings and/or themselves, so what a wonderful way to teach these students about health, nutrition, food preparation and also culinary skills that they can take with them for the rest of their lives,” added Krohn.

(Photo by ©Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by ©Ross A. Benson)

“Most of these students are not college bound, they just want to get a job to survive, and be able to make a living,” she said. “IKEA’s generous donation expands the opportunities for our students to excel and succeed creatively in school and in life, as they pursue career and job opportunities that would otherwise not be available to them, or they wouldn’t have even considered.”

“IKEA wants to play a part in creating a better life for the many people, as well as communities touched by IKEA business,” said Peggy Kovacic, Interior Designer at IKEA Burbank. “While IKEA works on a global level to improve the lives of people in developing countries, IKEA also wants to be a good neighbor in its local communities”

“The IKEA Life Improvement Co-worker challenge is one way to make a difference closer to home,” she explained. “IKEA US started the IKEA Life Improvement Challenge in 2011, and since then over 120 local charities have received over $1 million in IKEA products, design expertise and manpower.”

(Photo by ©Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by ©Ross A. Benson)

All the dishes at Tuesday’s event were made by BCDS students and included bacon and cheese quiche, sliced cucumbers topped with shrimp and avocado, mini pizzas, toothpick skewers with mozzarella, salami and tomatoes, fruit spring rolls with rice, strawberries, peaches, oranges and plum jelly, homemade strawberry ice cream, jalapeno hummus, carrot cupcakes, mini cheesecakes, guacamole, parmesan cups with caesar salad, salsa and pesto.

Drinks included homemade lemonade, mint iced tea and water with orange slices.

“The Burbank Community Day School Garden, Kitchen and Culinary Arts Program underscore the importance of persistence, community collaboration and giving what you have,” commented Sharon Springer, a longtime community volunteer at the school, who also lives and works in Burbank. “In the beginning there was a weed patch, followed by putting one foot in front of the other to get where we are today: a kitchen and culinary arts program at BCDS.”

“In the beginning, we didn’t think of a kitchen. It’s been a natural evolution. Every contribution has been important and appreciated,” she added. “Every dollar, every pulled weed, planted seed, pruned branch, every donation in kind, every word of encouragement and show of support have made a difference.”

“The garden and kitchen open up opportunities that the students never knew existed,” Springer also said. “There are and have been artists, botanists, entomologists, contractors, grammarians (really!) and now budding chefs and nutritionists.”

Officials Break Ground on New Burbank IKEA Location

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Mayor Bob Frutos presents IKEA officials commemorating the ground breaking for the new IKEA location (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

With company representatives, Burbank Mayor Bob Frutos, City Council members, local officials and community leaders on-hand, IKEA the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today officially broke ground where it is constructing a new, larger store in Burbank, less than one mile away from the company’s oldest store in the Western United States.

Burbank and IKEA officials get together to launch the highly anticipated new IKEA to be built in the southeast part of Burbank(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Until the new, roomier store opens on the new site in Spring 2017, customers can continue to shop at the existing IKEA Burbank.

The current 242,000-square-foot IKEA Burbank, the first IKEA store in California and sixth in the U.S., opened November 1990 on 6.4 acres along I-5 at San Fernando Boulevard. The future 456,000-square-foot store and its more than 1,700 convenient parking spaces will be built on 22 acres west of San Fernando Boulevard and south of Providencia Avenue, providing customers with improved accessibility.

IKEA has contracted with VCC Construction to build the store, and plans reflect the same unique architectural design for which IKEA stores are known worldwide. Just as the existing store has a solar photovoltaic array atop its roof, IKEA hopes to install a similar solar energy system atop the relocated store.

In addition to the nearly 400 Burbank coworkers already part of the global IKEA family, the new store will generate even more sales and property tax revenue yearly for the City and local schools.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“We are pleased to be breaking ground today on our commitment to extend our Burbank presence with a new, larger and updated store that will provide an improved experience for our many loyal customers currently shopping at IKEA Burbank,” said Lars Petersson, IKEA US president.

“This new IKEA Burbank store also will help us introduce the latest version of the unique IKEA concept to Southern Californians who value good design, good function and affordable prices, but have not yet had the chance to visit an IKEA store.”

The new, more spacious IKEA Burbank will feature a larger quantity of the nearly 10,000 exclusively designed items, 50 inspirational room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a larger (600-seat) restaurant serving Swedish specialties.

Other family-friendly features include a ‘Children’s IKEA’ area in the showroom, baby-care rooms, play areas throughout the store, and preferred parking. IKEA now offers a product picking and delivery service and an IKEA Family loyalty program, and has begun visiting homes in areas where it has stores so design solutions can better reflect local living situations and needs.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs Library Loft Boosts Student Creativity And Engagement

The John Burroughs High School library now boasts of an art library and creative activity center, known collectively as the Burroughs Library Loft. After months of collaborative brainstorming and physical work by librarian Julie Grene and JBHS art teacher Beth Morrison, common areas of the library have been transformed into a place for students and teachers to explore art, create art and integrate art into daily lives and studies.

“I’ve been talking about Arts Integration for many years, and I truly believe that leveraging the Arts (all of the Arts) is the best vehicle to make connections between disciplines, lessons, life and the world,” commented Morrison. “Now we have a resource center for all of the teachers here at Burroughs.”

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Funded by a Burbank Arts For All Foundation (BAFA) grant for books, supplies and resources and a donation of furniture, manpower and materials from IKEA, the Burroughs Library Loft began to emerge in November 2014. Both Morrison and Grene point to the strong support of  then Principal John Paramo as vital to the realization of the project.

Morrison and Grene spent weekends and vacation days to work on the Library Loft, which officially opened for student and teacher use in February 2015.

“Beth and I obtained all the materials that were not from IKEA and did the manual labor involved with those materials,” commented Grene. “Beth is an amazing creative can-do type of person. Our creative spirits work well together.”

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“The IKEA team spent a day here assembling the furniture and installing all shelving. IKEA even took the time to create vinyl wall appliques of our chosen words in the fonts I requested, then came and applied those as well,” explained Grene. “They were really great to work with. Scotty, our maintenance man, was also involved with the Mondrian ceiling. He helped by removing all the tiles we needed to paint. One of the wood shop students came and waxed the tabletops.”

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“The Loft has been well received by both students and staff. People love the inviting and welcoming atmosphere that’s been created,” continued Grene. “It’s been really fun to see students gravitate toward the space. We already have ‘regulars’ utilizing the supplies creatively every day at lunch. I have plans to do more organized activities and after school workshops next year in order to get more students involved.”

The Burroughs Library Loft has assisted a Health class, an English class and a special needs class to complete art projects. Students create magnetic poetry, write inspirational sayings, draw pictures on the chalkboard columns and draw at the tables.

Once monthly, substitute teacher Brian Kukan hosts an after-school meditation group, Breathing Among The Books, open to students, teachers and staff. The group has grown from just a few students at the beginning to nearly 30 students at the most recent meeting April 1. The next, and last meeting for the current school year, is slated for May 6.

“I come for the relaxation and to de-stress,” science teacher Jill Tobin told students attending the most recent Breathing Among The Books gathering, most of whom were first or second-time attendees.

“I’m so happy that our students are making great use of the space and all of the resources. I’ve been using the display space for student work a lot more than I had planned or anticipated,” Morrison also said. ” I love the flexibility, as well as the opportunity to showcase the work of our very creative and talented students. And I love that so many people are interested, engaged, exposed, and responding so positively, to the works of art that are put on display.”

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“I think we knew from the beginning that the Loft would follow the ‘if we build it, they will come philosophy, but I didn’t really think so much about the ‘my special place’ aspect that the Loft has provided for so many individual students. There are quite a few students that have now found their ‘special place’ on campus.”

“We’re still adding to the resources, but at least we have a place for teachers to go to find ideas and inspiration,” added Morrison. “We’re also planning a series of workshops for teachers to get some hands-on experience with Arts Integration.”

One of Morrison and Grene’s many goals for the Burroughs Library Loft concept is for other schools to adopt the concept and built their own version of an Arts Library.  Luther and Jordan Middle Schools have responded positively and want to create resource centers of their own, according to Morrison.

The library is officially open 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. every school day. Peer tutoring is offered by California Scholarship Federation students Monday through Thursday for one hour after school gets out.

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The library has computers, textbooks, magazines, newspapers, a photocopier for student use and reference books, said Grene, who also tries to have additional supplies on hand that students may need to complete their school work.

While the library has limited availability in April and May to accommodate testing and textbook collection, Grene looks forward to the fall semester and events planned for the coming school year. Monthly Creative Challenges, after school workshops, teacher workshops, a Curator’s Club to introduce students to careers in the art business are some of the upcoming plans she has in the works, all while continuing to expand the resources available to teachers and students.

The JBHS library also hosts PTSA meetings and after-school poetry readings and song writing workshops for students, along with college and career planning workshops several times throughout the year.

Ikea Project Set To Go Before City Council March 11 (New Date)

IKEA could be moving soon.

If it does, it won’t go far. Just a little more than a mile south.

And if it is constructed, it will be the largest IKEA store in the U.S., the company said.

The current store near the mall will eventually close once the new site on South San Fernando is developed, which could be by fall 2016.

The City Council is scheduled to discuss the project February 25, after the Planning Board recommended its approval last month.

The project consists of almost 23 acres and 15 parcels of land, according to a city staff report on the project.

Twenty two structures will be demolished, or the equivalent of almost 465,00 square feet, the report states.

At roughly 470,000 square feet, the new store will be almost double the size of the existing store.

IKEA in Downtown Burbank is one of the company’s higher performing stores, but suffers from parking and circulation “challenges” and the loading area is insufficient, Joseph Roth, a spokesman for IKEA, said about the reasons behind the proposed move and a new store at the January 13 Planning Board meeting.

The existing store isn’t visible from the highway and IKEA would like customers to have quicker access to the store, Roth said.

Finding the closest entrance to IKEA on your first visit can indeed be challenging. Additionally, pedestrians park away from the store and have to walk across a busy corridor of cars wanting to access other areas of the mall.

This matters, Roth said, because “sales will taper off.”

It would mean limited sales growth for IKEA and limited growth in tax revenue for the city, he said.

“Relocation is the only viable option,” Roth said. “It improves the customer shopping experience, grows our presence and keeps us in the city.”

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The site IKEA would like to move to is located off San Fernando Boulevard, south of Downtown Burbank. When completed, the IKEA would stand next to the existing shopping center that houses a Ralph’s and Starbucks, among other businesses, near Alameda Avenue.

The main entrance to the store would be from First Street, which would be extended from Santa Anita Avenue, where it currently dead ends, to Providencia Avenue.

First and Providencia would be the main vehicular entrance, and the store entrance would face the freeway.

The new store would have a First Street address, and IKEA would promote the Olive Avenue exit from the freeway, to encourage access from First, store representatives said at the meeting.

Another entrance would be located just west of the main entrance, at Providencia and Bonnywood Place.

A new, signalized entry would be located at San Fernando and Elmwood Avenue, which would be the back of the store. IKEA delivery trucks needing to unload would also enter from San Fernando, but unloading is scheduled to take place during non-peak hours, the staff report states.

Loading for home delivery trucks would take place near the front of the store.

IKEA representatives noted that all customer loading will take place on the site, and that customers could take their carts to their cars, just as they do at other newer and larger IKEA stores.

Layout2An existing driveway just south of Elmwood on San Fernando could also be an entry and exit option as there are no restrictions on who can use that driveway, although it is primarily intended for use by the future owners of 811 S. San Fernando, a building that is currently for lease, Patrick Prescott, deputy city planner, said.

In approving the project, Planning Board members noted that the main entrance to IKEA would be from First Street and said that with the proposed improvements, including remediation of the soil, they were satisfied that impacts on the area would be mitigated.

Members of the board, however, took issue with a 108-foot tall sign that would be visible from the I-5 freeway, and the project was approved without the sign.

No relocation assistance will be offered to the business owners, and IKEA representatives said tenants have been aware of the project for some time and have been paying below-market rent.

In addition to traffic improvements, other enhancements include wider sidewalks on San Fernando and near the project entrance, as well as an additional turning lane from eastbound Alameda to northbound San Fernando.

IKEA plans to place solar panels on top of the rooftop parking, and will offer 1,726 parking spaces, more than the city requires, in addition to a lower parking area.

Details of the soil remediation were not discussed, although IKEA’s remediation expert said the California Regional Water Quality Control Board had a plan in place that IKEA would implement. Buildings and soil would be removed and the water board must give its approval for IKEA to refill the site. It was noted that remediation at the site has been on-going.

Roth said that should IKEA receive approval, they will then close on the land and be able to purchase it. He said IKEA does not disclose the purchase price or the cost of the project.

He would only say that the project cost was in the millions.

“Nine digits,” he added.

The City Council meeting takes place February 25 at City Hall, and begins at 6:00 p.m.

Editors Note: The hearing has been rescheduled for March 11 at 6 pm


Car Burglary Rampage Over The Weekend in Downtown Burbank Parking Lots

Saturday night was apparently not a good time to park your car in the IKEA parking structure located at 651 N. San Fernando Blvd.  One or more thieves broke into four cars there, and one more parked a block away at the Corner Bakery, 800 N. San Fernando Blvd.  The rash of auto burglaries continued on Sunday, when police took four more reports for cars broken into at the Island parking structure, 133 E. Orange Grove Ave.

Burbank Police Officer Steve Karagiosian takes information from one of the victims, after finding her car broken into in the IKEA parking structure. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Police responded to the first report of a car with a smashed window and missing valuables at 8:15 p.m. in the parking structure.  A 2012 Kia Sorrento had a smashed rear passenger window.  A shoulder bag containing an iPad was taken.   The second burglary in the parking structure was reported at 9:45 p.m.  A 2012 Honda Civic had its window smashed sometime between 9 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.   Missing were laptop computer accessories and textbooks.

A 2012 Nissan Maxima that had been parked in the structure since 5 p.m. was found with a smashed window at 10 p.m.  Thieves took a gym bag containing an iPod.   At 11:45 p.m. the owner of a 2010 Infiniti G35, returned to find the rear passenger window smashed.  The vehicle had been parked there since 6:16 p.m.  The owner reported that nothing was missing from the car.   The cars that the thieves targeted had been parked on various levels of the multi-level parking structure. One belonging to waitress at Chevy’s restaurant, was parked on the top level of the structure.  Others were on lower levels.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The fifth auto burglary occurred at the Corner Bakery.  It was reported at 9:55 p.m.  The owner of a 2013 Nissan Versa had parked the vehicle there at 8:30 p.m.  A window had been smashed, and a purse, camera, and iPod were taken.  If it was the same thief or thieves, it appears they may have broken into this car on their way back from hitting the cars at the IKEA parking structure.

Police did report that a resident in the area of Frederic St. and Pacific Ave., called them after finding some purses.  It is believed that they may have been part of the loot taken from the cars that were broken into Saturday night.

On Sunday between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Burbank Police responded to four more auto burglaries at the Islands restaurant parking structure.  Each of the vehicles had the rear passenger window smashed, and valuables inside the car taken. According to police department spokesman Sgt. Darin Ryburn, this could be the work of the same thief or thieves.    More details on these latest thefts were not yet available.

Police advise citizens to not leave valuables in their cars.  If you must leave something inside when you park, do not leave it in plain sight.

Burbank Police Officer Bruce Slor recovers property that was left behind on one of the car burglaries that occurred this weekend in the Ikea Parking structure. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)