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Owners of Burbank’s retro Pickwick Bowl want to raze it and build housing

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The 1960s-era Viva Cantina across the street is in jeopardy, too

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Burbank’s Pickwick Gardens could be on the verge of a major redevelopment. The family that’s owned the property since 1955 is seriously considering razing the 8.5-acre complex’s gardens, bowling alley, ice skating rink, and event facilities, and replacing the venue with housing, reports LA Weekly.

Pickwick’s long-time owners, the Stavert family, revealed the plans at a September 14 public meeting. The Staverts plan to partner with developer Shea Properties to create a community of “several hundred” townhouses and apartments on the site at Riverside Drive and Main Street, along with a four-story parking structure.

The plan also calls for the demolition of the adjacent 1960s-era Viva Cantina, a bar and restaurant that’s also a busy live music venue. (It would be replaced by a brand new “place to get a drink.”)

The Staverts say that the maintenance costs for the property are mounting and profits have been declining since 2008, putting them in a difficult position of having to look for other options for the property.

But the Staverts plan proved immediately unpopular with the property’s neighbors. The crowd at the meeting “erupted into boos” upon hearing the redevelopment plan, says the Weekly. Following the meeting, angry neighbors started an online petition against the plan. The petition gathered over 10,000 signatures in less than 72 hours.

The Pickwick complex is located in Burbank’s Rancho neighborhood, known for its equestrian focus. Pickwick is directly across from the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

The neighborhood’s residents are known to organize against projects they don’t like. In 2007, they successfully blocked a Whole Foods proposed at Alameda Avenue and Main.