NBC Universal Unveils Long-Term Vision For Universal City: Represents Major Commitment To Los Angeles
More information is available at the Universal Vision Plan website.
UNIVERSAL CITY, California, December 6, 2006 – NBC Universal today announced a comprehensive long-term Vision Plan for the 391-acre Universal City property, home to Universal Studios, Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, and Universal CityWalk. The Vision Plan will revitalize production facilities, explore extending studio facilities to the adjacent Universal City Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) Station property, generate new office space, refresh its theme park operations, create a new residential neighborhood on a portion of the property and address traffic congestion. The Plan represents an economic catalyst well into the future creating 11,000 new full- and part-time jobs at project completion and 17,000 jobs during the construction period. Altogether, the existing and future studio, retail, theme park and residential uses will generate approximately $21 million in new annual revenues to the City and County of Los Angeles and over $4 billion per year in total economic activity throughout Los Angeles County.
“Now is the right time to plan for the future and take a fresh look at our industry, the community and our businesses,” said Ron Meyer, president and COO of Universal Studios. “This Vision Plan will extend our 90-year legacy of creativity and innovation, building a solid future for our businesses and much-needed housing in the heart of the entertainment industry.”
The purpose of the Vision Plan is to create a blueprint for Universal City for the next twenty five years to remain the largest working studio in the world, one of Los Angeles’ top tourism destinations, and one of the San Fernando Valley’s top employers. The Vision Plan will accommodate future uses on the property, addressing the need for economic and employment vitality, housing and transportation solutions and environmental stewardship that will benefit both NBC Universal and the region as a whole. Thomas Properties Group and Rios Clementi Hale Studios served as advisors to NBC Universal.
Utilizing the best in urban planning and smart-growth principles, the Vision Plan will focus on three areas:
The Studio/Front & Backlot:
- A future plan that revitalizes film and television production facilities. Key elements in the future could include both new and relocated outdoor sets, new post-production facilities, sound stages, producer bungalows, screening theater, rehearsal hall, film vault, and expanded prop/costume shop, totaling approximately 390,000 square feet of production uses. Additionally, there will be 335,000 square feet of new office space, including two new buildings and an enhanced child care center as well as improved parking and circulation.
- A proposal that explores extending production facilities to the Universal City MTA Station. NBC Universal and Thomas Properties Group (TPG) are initiating discussions with MTA regarding a proposed new studio and office campus at the Universal City MTA Station. NBC Universal would become the major tenant in the new studio complex to be developed by Thomas Properties Group, which would include 200,000 square feet of production facilities, 450,000 square feet of entertainment-related office, as well as a comprehensive parking plan. TPG also proposes a second phase at the MTA campus which would not involve Universal, but which would include an additional 400,000 square foot office building with retail and associated parking. TPG’s plan will also include protection and promotion of the historic Campo de Cahuenga and additional parking for MTA transit riders.
The Entertainment Place:
- A future plan that refreshes Universal CityWalk and Universal Studios Hollywood theme park. Key elements in the future could include a refreshed Studio Tour with new signature attractions and enhanced retail and dining facilities totaling approximately 80,000 square feet within the theme park. The plan also includes improved and expanded parking and circulation, improved landscaping and pedestrian connections to the MTA Station. At CityWalk, the future plan could include upgrades to the movie theater complex, enhanced retail and dining facilities totaling approximately 35,000 square feet and a 100,000 square foot live production studio where guests become part of the action. The proposal also includes possible construction of a new 3,000 seat enclosed entertainment venue and a 500-room hotel, expanded parking and circulation. The plan anticipates that the amphitheater could be replaced in the future in connection with these proposed enhancements.
- A future plan that transforms 124-acres of the studio property into a distinctive new neighborhood. The Plan is designed to meet the needs of a variety of Los Angeles residents and offers various price points from apartments and stacked lofts to town homes and condominiums. A unique setting with varying topography that today serves as the studio backlot will provide 35 acres of the 124 acres as open space, hiking trails and parks in the future. Within three modern, eclectic villages, approximately 2,900 residential units will be connected by a “Great Street” that will serve as the spine of this walkable neighborhood. A town center will allow neighbors to walk instead of drive to 100,000 square feet of neighborhood-serving dining and retail shopping opportunities. Buildings will be placed into sections of the hill to be sensitive to existing neighbors’ views. The environmentally sensitive and transit-oriented design will work to meet Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification standards.
A Regional Transportation Plan:
“We stand at a unique moment in Los Angeles, and our future demands that we change old patterns of growth and create new solutions for transportation and access,” said Tom Smith, senior vice president of West Coast Real Estate for NBC Universal. “Universal’s Vision Plan is an innovative transit-oriented project that will also be an economic engine for Los Angeles. It will include a comprehensive and regional transportation plan where transit is integrated into the very design of the project.”
Working with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), MTA, CalTrans and the community, NBC Universal will finalize an extensive package of regional and project transportation improvements that will enhance mobility throughout Universal City and the community. Key upgrades would not only change, but also improve, the way people arrive at and experience Universal City. The improvements under consideration include:
- Shuttle system from Universal Village and throughout Universal City to the MTA Station.
- North/South “Great Street” through Universal Village connecting Forest Lawn Drive to Coral Drive.
- Freeway and access improvements, including possible construction of a southbound entrance to the 101 Freeway from Universal City; a single-purpose urban interchange (SPUI) near Campo de Cahuenga connecting to the 101 Freeway, and other system improvements to the 101 corridor and the 134 interchange.
- Barham Corridor improvements, including a possible grade separation at Forest Lawn Drive and Barham Boulevard and possible widening of the Barham Bridge at the L.A. River.
- Enhance the pedestrian crossing at Lankershim Boulevard and Campo de Cahuenga.
- Various traffic signal system upgrades and intersection enhancements.
Universal City resides in both the City and County of Los Angeles. Therefore, NBC Universal will file applications for the Universal City Vision Plan with both the City and County jurisdictions. Thomas Properties Group will file a separate application with the City for the Universal City MTA Station studio and office campus proposal. Over the next several months, Universal will work with the City and County of Los Angeles, MTA and the community. Both the Universal City Vision Plan and Thomas Properties Group’s MTA Station proposal will be subject to a comprehensive, environmental and public review and hearing processes, during which the public will have many opportunities to participate.
About Universal City
Founded in 1915, Universal City is a multi-faceted entertainment and business complex like no other in Los Angeles. Providing over 10,000 full- and part-time jobs, Universal City is home to Universal Studios, the largest motion picture and television studio in the world, 22 production companies, Universal CityWalk and Universal Studios Hollywood, The Entertainment Capital of L.A. There are approximately 370 buildings on the property, with more than 30 serving as fully operational sound stages. In 2005, more than 180 hours of episodic television were filmed at Universal Studios, including Crossing Jordan and Passions. 120 commercials and 30 feature and independent films, including Jarhead and You, Me and Dupree were also filmed at Universal. While the studio often works at over 90% capacity to bring to the world some of the finest and most watched television and film offerings today, Universal Studios and Universal Studios Hollywood have taken over 125 million visitors behind the scenes of the movie and television industry’s biggest hits with movie and TV-based-rides and attractions and the world-famous Universal Studios Tour. Universal CityWalk provides visitors with a unique retail, dining and entertainment experience with over 20 quick and full-service restaurants, an AMC 18 theater complex with IMAX screen, the Gibson Amphitheatre and approximately 30 shops, boutiques and entertainment venues.
About Universal Studios
Universal Studios is a subsidiary of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment, companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi.
About Thomas Properties Group
Founded in 1996 by James A. Thomas, TPG is a major national real estate company that plans, develops and manages large complex projects throughout the Unites States for its own portfolio as well as for third parties. TPG’s corporate philosophy is rooted in the belief that real estate requires an uncommon synthesis of experience, local understanding, relationships and vision. TPG is the premier real estate company with a track record in green high-rise construction and management, and has been recognized nationally for its innovative green operating practices at the Joe Serna, Jr./Cal-EPA headquarters in Sacramento that saves over $1 million annually for the State of California. As the co-founder of Maguire Thomas Partners, Mr. Thomas was integrally involved with many of the projects that define the Los Angeles skyline, including Library Tower, Gas Company Tower and Wells Fargo Center, as well as the urban plan that saved the historic Los Angeles Central Library. Currently, TPG owns another downtown LA landmark, City National Plaza.
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