The retailer, which opened in Burbank in 1990 as its sixth store in the United States, has outgrown its current digs at the Burbank Town Center, and hopes to relocate roughly a mile away to a nearly 23-acre lot located at 805 S. San Fernando Blvd.
If the project is approved, the retailer plans to start demolishing the 22 existing structures on the lot this summer. Those buildings are currently being used for office, manufacturing, industrial, warehouse and residential purposes.
“I do think the property has been underutilized,” said Christopher Rizzotti, a Planning Board member. “This would be its highest and best use.”
More than a dozen members of the public voiced their opinions about the project, the majority of whom were in favor of the expansion. Some, however, were concerned about the size and scale of the project, along with traffic congestion, pedestrian safety and noise.
The proposed store — slated to become the largest IKEA in the country — would cover a whopping 470,000 square feet and include a 12,000-square-foot restaurant as well as a smaller bistro serving items such as prepackaged food, hot dogs and pizza, along with a supervised children’s play area.
The move would alleviate many of the size constraints and challenges the retailer currently faces in Burbank, such as long lines, inadequate offerings and limited restaurant seating, according to IKEA officials.
The two-story building would also have an underground parking lot with 1,726 parking spaces and 86 bicycle parking spaces.
Board members said they were grateful IKEA chose to relocate within Burbank, as it’s a major generator of sales-tax revenue for the city.
“I think that’s a plus to us,” said Planning Board member Kenneth San Miguel. “It makes the economy better in our neighborhood.”
The retailer boasts 38 stores in the United States and 349 worldwide.
The Burbank City Council is slated to review the plans next month.
Pending approval, the new site is slated to open in August 2016, according to city reports.