Tag Archives: State of the City

State of the City: Time to Welcome Change

It was the second time in two years that Burbank’s Mayor, Jess Talamantes, delivered the State of the City address. Last year as Vice-Mayor, Talamantes filled in for then Mayor Bob Frutos who had taken ill that week.

2016 State of the City for MB (© Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Now addressing a crowd made up of the top business leaders, Talamantes delivered well in his third time at the podium. He was also the ‘Centennial Mayor’ in 2011 when Burbank turned 100 when he gave his first speech.

Each year, the Burbank Chamber of Commerce sponsors the State of the City, this year moving from the Airport Marriott to the Castaway, quickly selling out the 400 seat plus venue.

This year the theme was about embracing change. Many things are changing in Burbank and not necessarily in more, but in improving. Some of the items mentioned included the recently approved Measure B vote that will allow the airport to rebuild its 14 gate terminal and the improvements to the Burbank Town Center.

2016 State of the City for MB (© Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Referring to the Burbank Economic Development Annual Report put out by the Community Development Department, Talamantes said there are over 108,000 residents in the city with an average household income of over $87,000. Burbank home prices average $725,000, which is approximately 33 percent above the Los Angeles County average home price of $545,000.

Tourism is also a large industry in Burbank with just over 3.1 million visitors coming to the city, spending an estimated $725 million dollars, generating $31.6 million in local tax revenues.

There is also proposed changes to the development landscape. Besides the new Ikea and the Talaria projects that are in progress and will be completed soon, there are several more developments on the horizon which include:

  1. The Burbank Town Center Renovation. This already approved renovation will be completed by late 2017.
  2. The former Ikea site. The City Council will decide in early 2018 on a proposed 15-story building that will feature 70 residential units, three 7-story buildings that will host retail and restaurant spaces as well as 259 apartments and a 200 room hotel as well as an outdoor plaza.
  3. A new development at 103 E. Verdugo that may feature 154 residential units with a hotel or office option which will go in front of the council in mid 2017.
  4. The Avion Burbank, which will be located across from the new terminal being built at the airport and will feature six 2-story industrial/warehouse buildings, nine 2-story creative office buildings, two 1-stort restaurants and a 150 room hotel on the 61.5 acre area.
  5. First Street Village, located at Magnolia and First, will be considered by the Council early in 2017 and will have three 5-story buildings for 283 apartments and includes amenities such as a dog park.
  6. A new, mixed unit project on the 100 block of Screenland that will be 13-stories high holding 40 apartments. The Planning Board will take this up next month in December.
  7. There are also new proposed airport hotels that are in discussion at 2500 Hollywood Way that would be 8-stories and in phase 2, one of thye options includes a 9-story hotel.
  8. Another long range development is the AC Hotel at 550 N. Third St. that will be a 6-story hotel with 198 rooms.

So yes, change is in the air and with more hotels and retail space proposed as well as new residential housing, the tax base will continue to improve for the city and the residents.

You can view the complete State of the City Video by clicking here.


State of the City: Burbank Remains in Great Shape

The tone of the State of the City Address that was held Wednesday at the Airport Marriott was that Burbank remains in great shape overall. In fact Burbank Wednesday was in better shape than Mayor Bob Frutos, who was under the weather.

Frutos, who also missed Tuesday’s City Council meeting, needed to stay home an extra day to recover but will be back in action next week – if not sooner. Vice-Mayor Jess Talamantes was on hand and delivered a flawless message to the ballroom backed with local businessmen.

Each year, the Burbank Chamber of Commerce puts on the State of the City Luncheon and this year they continued to put on a great program to a capacity turnout.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Eric Foster, Vice President of the Burbank City Federal Credit Union and the 2015 Chamber Board Chair started off by holding up a life-size cutout of Frutos in front of his face to welcome everyone and explained the Mayor’s absence.

After an Invocation by Pastor Sam Kim of the First United Methodist Church, new BUSD Superintendent Matt Hill was tabbed to lead the Pledge of Allegiance with the assistance of the Burbank Police Department Honor Guard.  Burbank Police Officer Kiyomi Roberts then sang an inspired rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

With Talamantes pinch hitting for Frutos, he helped present the State of the City with the extensive help of video messages. Each year the video messages have  improved in substance in quality and each Mayor has fully utilized it.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

There was a nice presentation of Burbank’s hosting of the Special Olympics with all of the fun and touring that the Olympians experienced during their Burbank visit.

One of the first topics was about the drought and what Burbank has done to support the Governor’s mandated 25% reduction of usage across the state. Burbank has renamed their portion the Billion Gallon Challenge and so far has saved 677 million gallons with still four months to go before the February deadline. Talamantes also reminded everyone that beginning November 1 residents go from two days a week of watering automatically to just one.

Burbank continues to grow in revenue with a projected 2.9% net increase in the next five years to fund the City’s budget which will also help in funding city pensions.

Some of that extra money will also be earmarked for several underfunded needs such as the City’s infrastructure, streets and bridges, as well as upkeep of municipal buildings. As Talamantes put it, ” there is a certain quality of life expected in Burbank”.

Some other great numbers included office vacancy rate of 11.1% compared to 12.5% in Los Angeles County. Employment growth is already 10% year to date and Burbank’s home values ($610,000) are 26% higher than the County’s $485,000.

After this the video message got a little Daffy, as in Daffy Duck.  You can tell that Frutos had put a lot of time, planning and work into the video presentation as he enlisted the talented animators at Warner Bros.  Daffy Duck was brought in and did several interactions with the Mayor as they discussed facets of the Burbank Studio such as Warner Bros. employs 12,000 people of which approximately 2,500 live in Burbank.

Lastly the Vice-Mayor touched on some new businesses locating in Burbank. Besides the new Ikea on South San Fernando Blvd., there are two new hotels in the same area with 379 new rooms between them along with a newly opened Tesla Motors.

There was an update of the Nickelodeon expansion that will house 450 new jobs to open in the summer of 2017, Talaria at Burbank that will feature a Whole Foods, 241 luxury rooms and will be one of the first LEED-certified green residential communities in Burbank that is expected to open in the spring of 2018.

Walmart is scheduled to open in the summer of 2016 and will generate 300 new jobs and the City Council will consider a new development called First Street Village located near Palm and Magnolia that will be a five-story structure with 283 apartments and 13,765square feet of retail space along with 662 parking spaces. One of the many amenities promised will include a dog park within the facility.

Talamantes did a great job stepping in for the Mayor on a short notice and has now been at the podium twice for this occasion and will once again be there in 2016 when he will once again serve as Mayor. Maybe next year he will let Frutos come up and have some of the fun also.

Mayor Gives Optimistic Outlook During State of the City Address

Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy presented her State of the City address to a packed house at the Airport Marriott Wednesday in the annual event sponsored by Burbank’s Chamber of Commerce.

Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel Luddy. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Since 2008, other Mayors have had to go in front of the local business community and try and sound positive about the downturn of 2008, although the theme was usually about some budget cuts that would have to be made to balance the budget.

Finally in 2013, Gabel-Luddy was able to not only the business leaders that things were looking better, but that the City of Burbank now has a projected balanced budget through 2018.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Her presentation was split into three sections and moved quickly while giving out the necessary information.  The first part was in the form of a speech where the Mayor talked about the previous year and some of the turmoil that was beginning top end.  The hiring or a permanent Police and Fire Chief, as well as Community Development Department Head.

“Burbank’s financial status is strong, with Standards & Poor’s giving the City a AAA Rating”, said the Mayor, “and that is something that is earned and not just given”.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

City revenue’s are also on the rebound with home prices in Burbank helping.  The average home price in Burbank is close to $530,000 compared the average in Los Angeles County which is $377,000 and unemployment in Burbank is currently at 8.4%.

She also went on to talk about the improvements in Burbank’s infrastructure including the money earmarked for repaving streets, Johnny Carson Park, Northwest Library, and Verdugo Park’s Pool as well as the Reservoir #1 which is just about complete.

Mayor Gabel-Luddy with City Manager Mark Scott. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mayor Gabel-Luddy with City Manager Mark Scott. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

After a short video, she then asked a few questions to attendees including a not so surprised City manager.

Newly hired City Manager Mark Scott showed that he already fees at ease in his new position and his experience shows. Not only did he seem comfortable talking to the movers and shakers that make up the Burbank business community, he was able to inject a little humor when it came to his surprise at being picked from the crowded room.

Mayor Gabel-Luddy interviews President of The Downtown Business District Michael Cusumano (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mayor Gabel-Luddy interviews President of The Downtown Business District Michael Cusumano (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Scott commented about the small city feel of Burbank and commented that his has realized that everyone in Burbank went to one of the schools here and that people have a deep concern for the  City.  He also stressed that he looked to help businesses maintain their employment levels and stressed how he wanted to work with the many small businesses in Burbank.

Developer Michael Cusumano also spoke on the Downtown Businesses and their recent successful events as well as the future.  The members Downtown Burbank Partnership have been working tirelessly to attract business to the downtown area for years.

Gabel-Luddy showed that in her term as Mayor, it is all about the flow of information that can make a successful State of the City address, not the length that some would lose interest in.

Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy gets a high-5 from Planning Board Member Kimberley Jo a former City Council Candidate herself. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy gets a high-5 from Planning Board Member Kimberley Jo a former City Council Candidate herself. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

State of the City-8

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mayor Talamantes Pronounces Burbank ‘Healthy’ in State of the City Speech

Over 350 City officials and Burbank business leaders gathered at the Burbank Airport Marriott to hear Mayor Jess Talamantes talk about the State of the City (Photo By Ross A. Benson)


Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes gave Burbank’s annual State Of The City Address Wednesday morning at the Burbank Airport Marriott . The large crowd of over 350 business owners, Chamber of Commerce Members, and City employees were in attendance to hear how Burbank is doing during these rough economic times.  Mayor Talamantes presented his address that Burbank is healthy and presented a differently presentation than previous years.

This year, beside a video presentation, he had a panel of Burbank Business Administrators tell their story of how healthy Burbank’s business Community really is.   Don St. Clair of Woodbury University spoke on higher education, while representation transportation, Dan Feger, Administrator Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena Airport, addressed the current climate.

Speaking for one of Burbank’s Major Studios, Lisa Rawlins, Sr. Vice President at Warner Bros., gave the perspective from the entertainment industry and Julie Sprengel, Chief Operating Officer of Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, spoke on their growth while Burbank Board of Realtor President, Alexandra Kelly, addressed that homes sales in Burbank continue to rise.


Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes called upon the leaders of the Burbank business community to give their perspective on today's business climate and the future ahead. (Photo By Ross A. Benson)