“We are thrilled with the support voiced by the City Council last night as well as some of the speakers at the public hearing,” IKEA spokesman Joseph Roth said Wednesday. “We’re glad that we now have a very viable project moving forward to continue to be a very strong contributor to the local Burbank economy.”
At Tuesday’s hearing, a number of business operators who will be displaced by the project asked the city and retailer for relocation assistance, citing the high costs of having to move. City officials said they would reach out to the businesses this week to help them find them other spaces in Burbank.
Another point of contention was a proposed agreement – ultimately thrown out – where the retailer would receive half of the increase in sales tax revenue generated by the new store. The idea came after IKEA was “faced with some additional fees that were not considered when they began their entitlement process two years ago,” according to a city report.
Specifically, the retailer was under the impression that certain utility fees – standby charges for fuel cells – would be waived by Burbank Water and Power, though the utility was unwilling to do that, said City Manager Mark Scott.
Under the agreement, IKEA would have received a maximum of $1.2 million over seven years, while the city would have retained an option to buy a 15,000-square-foot portion of the land for a potential community substation for the same price for up to 10 years. Additionally, the retailer had agreed that for 20 years, it would not to enter into any sales tax diversion agreements which could divert sales tax revenues from the city.