A state appeals court has decided in favor of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s proposal to build a superstore in Burbank.
A panel of judges from the Second District Court of Appeal issued a 40-page opinion Tuesday that the city can issue building permits for the project at the Empire Center shopping center.
The interests of the tenants at the Empire Center to receive building permits should not be dependent on the city completing road widening, intersection improvements and other traffic-related changes around the Empire Center, the court decided.
“The fact that the property owner involved in this case is Walmart should not change this dynamic,” the opinion said.
The appellate court remanded the case back to Los Angeles Superior Court to issue a new judgment finding Wal-Mart’s store is an appropriate use for the property at 1301 N. Victory Place, would not require a variance for its parking needs and ordering Burbank to make the street improvements.
The proposed store, which would employ about 300 people, would occupy the space of the former Great Indoors home furnishing store that closed several years ago. Wal-Mart contends Burbank residents are currently spending close to $7 million at other Walmarts in the area, with the nearest in Panorama City about 10 miles away.
After the store was approved, some residents and labor attorneys filed a suit claiming the city had not built promised street improvements around the Empire Center, including more turn lanes at key intersections. Based on that suit, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge issued an injunction.
Wal-Mart filed an appeal in 2013 seeking to overturn the injunction that rescinded the building permits for the site.