Burbank Commissioner Bill Wiggins, noting what appeared to be a more lucrative offer, said Paradies, in its 16 years at the airport, had not sought rent relief or asked that its payments to the authority be reduced.
“In this type of contract you have to look at the totality of what you get, not just price,” Wiggins said. “You have to look at the quality.”
Under the contract that begins May 1, the concessionaire will pay the authority at least $765,000 annually and $300,000 in the first year to upgrade two of five stores, Executive Director Dan Feger said.
“We understand the need for competition. We promote it. We push it. We look for the best deal for this authority continuously,” he said. “In this particular case, because of the downturn in the economy, we do not believe that you will get a good result here.”
Unlike contracts for services in which the authority seeks out the lowest bidder, the airport could end up with a less attractive offer by taking new proposals, including from its incumbent firm, Feger said.
Paradies Shops Chairman Dick Dickson, citing examples at airports in Atlanta and Los Angeles, said revenue ceased to be the overriding factor in selecting a concessionaire in the early 1980s.
But Burbank Commissioner Don Brown and Glendale Commissioner Frank Quintero voted against the contract, arguing it was premature to side with a company without seeing a range of counteroffers.
“When I came out here as an appointed commissioner, it was to protect the interests of the city of Burbank and to run this as a business,” Brown said.
Mike Blakely, vice president of business development for the Hudson Group, offered to sweeten Paradies’ offer by more than $465,000 over the first five years of the agreement and provide $350,000 to remodel all five locations, he said.
On Monday, Feger said the Hudson Group proposal was “woefully inadequate” and could lead to diminished service levels. Some commissioners also expressed dismay with Hudson Group lobbying tactics.