BURBANK — Three firms, including Walt Disney Co., are in serious negotiations to buy all or part of a 103-acre vacant parcel near Burbank Airport from Lockheed Martin Corp., corporation and city officials said Wednesday.
Sale of the parcel, which is included in a city plan to expand the existing Media District, is not considered imminent, but a deal may be struck within about six months, officials said.
"We're hoping to continue moving forward with talks and an eventual sale," said Maureen Curow, a spokeswoman for Lockheed Martin. "We do not have a final deal at this point."
Curow and other officials confirmed that Disney was interested in buying the property but declined to identify the other two firms. One of the companies is looking to buy the entire 103-acre site for retail or commercial use, while the other company is interested in only a portion of the property, Curow said.
"We're still in discussion with other companies," Curow said. "It's been known that this property has been for sale for some time."
Tom Deegan, a spokesman for Disney, declined to say whether the purchase was in the works but did say no deal had been consummated.
"We have not bought any vacant land from Lockheed," Deegan said. "We don't comment on speculation."
Rough boundaries for the 103-acre site are Buena Vista Street, Empire Avenue, Victory Place and the railroad tracks north of Victory Boulevard.
Curow and other officials said the land, which became contaminated over the years, will be cleaned with a vapor extraction system that will be set up beginning in the fall. Development of the site can proceed at the same time as the cleanup, the officials said.
The area would amount to about one-fourth to one-third of the city's planned Media District North, whose boundaries would include the railroad tracks, Hollywood Way, Winona Avenue, San Fernando Road and Victory Place.
City officials plan to improve the district's infrastructure--including streets, sidewalks and electrical and water systems--so that the area is more attractive to businesses or developers, said Chris Foss, special assistant to the city's community development director.
City officials acknowledged wanting to make sure Burbank is home to businesses such as media-related companies that seek space near Disney and Warner Bros.
Mayor Bill Wiggins said he knew Disney was among the firms interested in buying the property from Lockheed but was unfamiliar with the status of negotiations. Developing the area, whether it involves Disney or another company, is a priority, Wiggins said.
"I think it would just be real beneficial to the vitality of Burbank," he said.
City Manager Robert Ovrom said it would be especially satisfying to see entertainment companies, rather than retail stores, become available at the site.
"Our preference is for uses that will generate higher-paying jobs," Ovrom said.