"I'm 100% in favor of the project," candidate Gary Bric said. "But in my opinion, it just doesn't fit."
The council seemed to lean toward that assessment at its Feb. 6 hearing on the proposal, giving the developers two weeks to reduce the project scope. Developer Tom Davies has voiced a willingness to modify design plans to suit the concerns of the council, but it remains to be seen whether a project that is agreeable to the City Council would also appeal to Whole Foods officials.
"As the project currently stands, I don't think [Davies] is going to reduce it," Bric said.
But a desire to see a Whole Foods Market in Burbank emerged as a common thread during the discussion, with several candidates posing possibilities for alternative locations.
"It really should be somewhere else and we really should make the effort to find another place for it in Burbank if it is rejected," candidate Philip Berlin said.
Building a Whole Foods near the Ramada Inn and the Golden State (5) Freeway in Media District North would not only make for a better location, but could relieve current blight in the area, candidate Anja Reinke said.
Candidates Vahe Hovanessian and Bric pointed to the former Lockheed B6 site at the Bob Hope Airport as an attractive alternative — though the site could not be tapped until the expiration of the 2004 development agreement between the city and the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, which banned development of that parcel for 10 years.
Wednesday's candidate event comes as the council race barrels toward the Feb. 27 mail-in ballot deadline and some forum attendees admitted they had already decided where they were going to cast their votes.
"It did not change my favorites, but I thought I got a better feel, more knowledge, as to what each one of them is all about," Burbank Sunrise Kiwanis President Pam Corradi said. "What it did is confirm my original favorites."