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Collection sets lofty goals

Grand opening for new 118-unit condo complex downtown is scheduled for the end of August.

July 09, 2008|By Alison Tully

Morgan Gerhard has been anxious to move into the Burbank Collection since he bought a condominium there on the first day they went on sale in September 2006.

Gerhard purchased his two-story loft with 19-foot ceilings for $650,000 and plans to move in on Aug. 18. He is one of several locals who have purchased condominiums in the 118-unit, $82-million realty project.

Burbank Collection is slated to host its grand opening at the end of August, and city officials such as Downtown Manager Gail Stewart are expecting it to benefit the local economy.

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“The city is very excited about the Collection coming because it will energize the whole area,” Stewart said. “It will help keep Burbank more of a 24/7 destination area for things going on.”

The area surrounding the Collection is its biggest selling point, as it is walking distance from downtown’s hub of restaurants, movie theaters and retail stores, Stewart said.

“The Collection was very attractive to me because I am a block and a half away from work,” said Gerhard, who records a lot of the major video games and animated shows. “Everything I need is in a two-block radius.”

Southern California-based Champion Real Estate Group started construction on the project in March 2006.

Although home prices are dropping rapidly, Gerhard isn’t concerned about losing value on his condo.

“I think anyone spending a lot of money on a condo is a little nervous, especially with the economy,” he said. “I am not really worried because it will grow in value. It is a great area.”

However, local resident Mike Nolan is afraid that the Collection’s parking lot, which offers 286 spaces for public use, will charge high rates for parking.

“I think the Collection is a great use of the land, but I am concerned that they will do away with free parking in the lot,” Nolan said. “We don’t have an abundance of free parking like we used to. It is harder and harder to find spaces, and if you do, you end up paying more than you would in the past.”

The Redevelopment Agency proposed a parking validation program to the City Council on July 1.

“Ample parking will be available for the public, and we introduced the idea of providing up to three hours free with validation,” said Jack Lynch, deputy of housing and redevelopment.

The Collection also has 40,000 square feet of space for restaurants and retail stores.

So far, six businesses have signed agreements, including frozen yogurt franchise Pinkberry and shoe company Skechers, and two others have signed letters of intent, Lynch said.

About 50% of the condos have been purchased in the Collection, said Steve Howard, the Collection’s community sales manager.

There are 28 floor plans that buyers can choose from.

Prices range from the low $400,000s for a 700-square-foot, one-bedroom unit to the low $900,000s for a 2,200-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bath, two-story unit.


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