Hailed as the “largest infill project in the San Fernando Valley” by development company Overton Moore Properties in Gardena, the Avion Burbank development promises 60 acres of office, industrial and retail space, as well as a 150-room hotel for the market – but noise could be an issue for tenants.

The development was approved by the City of Burbank in April and held a groundbreaking ceremony earlier this month. The name Avion Burbank is a reference to the city’s place in aviation history and its location at the corner of Hollywood Way and San Fernando Road, adjacent to the Hollywood Burbank Airport.

Eighteen buildings will be split up between 142,000 square feet devoted to office condo space, 16,000 square feet for retail, and 1.25 million square feet for “creative industrial,” as Overton calls it.

“It’s really a combination of your typical industrial warehouse buildings and manufacturing buildings, where you had an abundant amount of clear-story glass, natural lighting coming into the building and extra power coming into the building,” said Timur Tecimer, chief executive of Overton.

The single-story industrial buildings have 35-foot-high ceilings, just right for companies in the entertainment industry that film on indoor sets or support the major studios.

“There’s a lot of YouTube-type people out there, streamers, the Amazons and Netflixes,” said Stacy Vierheilig-Fraser, principal at brokerage Lee & Associates, of the expected tenant mix at Avion.

“We have companies that support the studios, where maybe they have props, for example, and need a place to store them or to build the props, and then they take them out to site,” added Scott Plambaeck, deputy city planner with community development, City of Burbank. “We’ve seen that there’s a demand for that in the city.”

Two-story office condo spaces will be available for lease or to buy in order to allow the tenant room to make alterations specific to each business.

“If an entrepreneur wants to buy a state-of-the-art office building, complete their own turn-key, build to suit interior improvements, they can do that,” explained Tecimer. “In our view, there’s nothing like that in the San Fernando Valley right now.”

Tecimer also hopes to court tenants with an abundant supply of outdoor meeting space, as well as amenities like bike paths, volleyball courts and firepits.

“We believe people want to work in environments where they can meet, not only indoors but outdoors,” he explained. “We’ve tried to create these outdoor meeting areas with overhead shade structures. People can collaborate not only in their office setting; they can sit in a nice area outside and collaborate.”

Avion Burbank is the result of a joint venture between Overton and Invesco Real Estate in Newport Beach, and is set to be completed by the end of 2020. The hotel, depending on how soon Overton can lock in a hotel developer, will likely be completed in 2021.

Noise nuisance?

With so much outdoor space, an obvious tenant concern is noise from the nearby airport and 5 freeway.

“There are a lot of people in creative

that are sensitive to sound,” said Vierheilig-Fraser, who cited it as a concern.

“There will be certain times when a plane might take off or when it might be a little louder than normal,” said Tecimer. “If you’re in Los Angeles, you’re very close to freeways, to highways, to airports. As aircraft get more efficient from a technology standpoint, their noise factors have gone down.”

Airport adjacency is another question mark, as it can add to traffic congestion but also adds a convenience factor for traveling executives.

“There will be a good chunk of people that won’t (commute), but then there will be people that have business out of state that will love it because they’re so close to the airport,” Vierheilig-Fraser said.

Tenants seeking public or private commute options will like Avion’s closeness to multiple transportation options, including Metrolink, multiple bus lines and the 5 freeway.

Skunk Works legacy

Although it took roughly three years to go from purchasing the property to getting a plan approved by the city, there has been minimal pushback from residents, Plambaeck said.

“We did have people come to both the Planning Board meeting and City Council meeting speaking in support,” explained Plambaeck. The Burbank Chamber of Commerce, for example, spoke in support of the project.

There has been demand for “flex industrial space” as Plambaeck calls it, especially for a project with a mix of office and retail, and Avion checks those boxes.

The city also negotiated for a number of public benefits, including 1,200 trees and a buffered bike path, along Hollywood Way along with other bike and walking paths throughout the development, and 60 parking spaces for the adjacent Metrolink station.

Overton also plans to repurpose cement pads on-site, left over from the previous tenant, Lockheed Martin.

“Lockheed left in the early ’90s. It was a Skunk Works site, that’s what they called it. It’s where they designed and constructed airplanes,” said Plambaeck. “It was a vacant site for 25 years.”

“We believe these concrete piles were used when the site was covered in World War II – poles inserted in the ground and tents all over the entire project. We’re finding a lot of concrete out there that we weren’t expecting to find,” Tecimer explained. “When you find surprises or challenges, it’s usually during grading.”

The left-over concrete set the crew back a couple weeks, Tecimer said, but will add the crushed concrete to build Avion’s base.

Avion will feature EV chargers for cars, as well as truck loading docks for future EV chargers.

“Amazon recently announced by 2030 they’re going to have over 100,000 electric Sprinter vans in delivering their last-mile goods,” explained Tecimer. “We’re trying to get in front of that from a design vantage point.”

All buildings will have solar power support, with wire running from the electrical room to the roof; 10 percent of power generated on-site will be solar, Tecimer said.