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The Real Deal Los Angeles

In horse-friendly Rancho District, residents protest Pickwick Gardens demolition

Owners are hinting that townhouses and apartments could be in the pipeline

Sign at Pickwick Gardens (Ross A. Benson via MyBurbank.com)

Horse-lovers and community residents are saying “neigh” to a potential housing development in Burbank.

Pickwick Gardens’ owner Ron Stavert announced at a neighborhood meeting last week that the 8.5-acre, multi-use entertainment hub in the Rancho District might soon be seeing the wrecking ball, L.A. Weekly reported. Stavert and developer Shea Properties said the live-music restaurant across the street – Viva Cantina – is at risk too.

Declining revenues led him to rethink the site, Stavert said. Several hundred townhouses and apartments, a parking structure and bocce ball court could replace the bar, lounge, ice rink, bowling alley and gardens currently found on the corner of Riverside Drive and Main Street.

Stravert stressed, however, that he was only sharing ideas — not finite plans — and would listen to community input.

Viva Cantina puts on 800 live music shows a year and sells out nearly every night, co-owner Cody Bryant told LA Weekly.

Protests against its demolition — including a Facebook group, a petition with over 10,000 signatures and canvassing — have already begun. The Rancho’s residents are known for fighting new development. In 2007, they successfully crushed Whole Foods’ plan to open a store in the area, citing traffic and congestion concerns.

Stavart first announced his business was suffering in 2016 through an email. He also requested community suggestions in the correspondence, stating, “To discontinue any community dialogue leaves the Pickwick to an uncertain future.” [LAW] – Natalie Hoberman