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Hope center is still in works

Council approves revised plan for multipurpose site in the Media District bearing the name of one of Burbank’s biggest icons.

April 09, 2008|By Jeremy Oberstein

CITY HALL — Bob Hope’s enduring legacy shone through the council Tuesday night as Burbank’s governing body unanimously approved revised plans for a center dedicated to the former entertainer.

The Bob Hope Centre, to be built on a triangular parcel of land across the street from NBC and bounded by Olive Avenue, Alameda Avenue and Lima Street, will feature more than 100,000 square feet of office space, nearly 300 parking spaces and a park where a museum and theater were once planned.

“I believe this project is an absolute win for the Media District and for the city of Burbank,” Mayor Marsha Ramos said.

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The project’s roots date back to 2001, when the council approved a design plan for 103,500 square feet of office space, a theater with up to 300 seats, a 4,000-square-foot museum and a restaurant. While traffic has been a concern for some projects around the city, including the nearly completed Burbank Boulevard Beautification Project that siphoned off traffic on one of the city’s main thoroughfares for months, the Bob Hope Project is not expected to heavily burden the 15 surrounding intersections.

A traffic study conducted in 2001 by an outside firm found that the project was anticipated to generate about 1,800 new car trips per day, including 157 morning rush-hour commuters and 194 trips during the evening rush.

The level of cars was not expected to “significantly” affect the area, the study found.

The council backed the project in 2001, but three months ago Hope’s family, which owns the land, opted to remove the museum and theater portion from the plans.

“They said that this is not of essence to the project, nor does it maximize the legacy of Bob Hope as originally intended,” said Joy Forbes, deputy city planner.

“The bottom line is they didn’t think it could give them the legacy they thought it could. They didn’t think they had enough memorabilia which they can fill the lobby space with."

Instead, officials will add nearly 6,000 square feet of office space that will push the square footage to almost 110,000 square feet and will feature a lobby filled with audio and visual memorabilia from Hope’s career that is more in line with the family’s vision, said Jack O’ Neil, chief operating officer for the Bob Hope estate.

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