"I know it's tough economic times, but to me it seems like your short-term gain of throwing somebody in a space may have some long-term effects that are detrimental to the downtown area," said Mayor Anja Reinke, who was joined by Councilmen Jess Talamantes and David Gordon. "I worry about shooting from the hip just because some spaces are empty right now in tough economic times, which I think are going to get better."
Former Planning Board member David Gerred, the general manager of nearby Romanoski Glass and Mirror Company, cited problems with parking in surrounding areas.
"Nobody understands that the economy sucks worse than I do," he said. "This economy will not last forever, but the decisions that you make . . . you are changing that zoning forever."
The rejection was a departure from recent decisions on downtown land use, specifically the approval of Burbank Entertainment Village's proposal to allow more than 10,000 square feet of space reserved for retail to be used for restaurants.
It also comes on the heels of a belated decision to allow a 24 Hour Fitness Super Sport club on the 1900 block of Empire Avenue.
Champion said because of the poor economy, the Collection has struggled to attract retail tenants. Only two tenant spaces are occupied by retail businesses, with a third on the way. The remaining spaces are restaurants, or remain vacant.
The mixed-use project at 250 N. First St. includes 118 condominium units and a multilevel parking structure with 721 spaces. Financial troubles began as the project edged toward completion in late 2008.
As the lender, Wachovia, teetered on the brink of bankruptcy before being taken over by Wells Fargo, the value of the project plummeted below the loan, Champion said.