Yet another historic film production campus is slated for a big revamp.
This morning, Hackman Capital Partners and The MBS Group announced a $1-billion plan to modernize the Radford Studio Center complex in the San Fernando Valley. The property, which sits just north of Ventura Boulevard at its intersection with Radford Avenue, has been the home of countless films and television shows, including "Gilligan's Island," "Seinfeld," and "Will & Grace."
“This studio means so much to our community, not just as an important hub of content creation but as an economic engine for so many shops and restaurants on Ventura Boulevard and around Studio City. We must ensure Radford remains a robust job creator and world-class production facility for decades to come," said Michael Klausman, president of Radford Studio Center, in a news release.
Built in the late 1920 as Mack Sennett Studios (by the legendary filmmaker of the same name), the property has long been the base of operations for the CBS network in Los Angeles - housing both of its local television channels. The parent company of CBS, ViacomCBS, had also owned the complex until late 2021, when it was sold to the Hackman-led venture for $1.85 billion.
In its pitch for the redevelopment, which the Los Angeles Times reports was submitted to the City of Los Angeles for review on Friday, Hackman points to a recent study by Deloitte which found that despite having more sound stages than any other part of the world, a lack of studio space has forced production out of Los Angeles - and often out of state. Facilities in Los Angeles operate at close to 100 percent capacity, with waitlists running as many as five films.
Past reports from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation have estimated that Los Angeles has lost out on $8 billion in economic activity, 28,000 jobs, and over $350 million in state and local revenues as a result of productions located elsewhere.
The Radford Studio Center Plan, as the project is called, would overall the entire 55-acre site, which is bisected by the Los Angeles River. Currently, the campus is currently developed with 1.2 million square feet of stage, support, and office facilities. The various components of the proposal could yield up to 1 million net new square feet of construction - less than what is currently allowed by zoning rules. The components of the plan include:
- Up to 20-25 new soundstages;
- New production office and support facilities;
- General offices;
- Preservation of historic elements of the studio lot;
- A new stretch of the L.A. River bike and pedestrian path;
- Addition of new studio gates and streamlined interior circulation;
- On-site basecamp and parking;
- A transportation demand program and multi-modal mobility hubs; and
- Improved public realm and pedestrian infrastructure.
“This plan was designed with Studio City in mind—fitting the scale and character of our community, said Hackman Capital Partners senior vice president Zach Sokoloff. "It embraces industry-leading sustainability investments and provides modern production facilities to keep productions and jobs in Los Angeles, positioning the studio for another century of preeminence."
A second Economic Development Corporation Study cited by the developers estimates that the proposed project would result in $2.37 billion in economic output during the course of construction, potentially generating $5.5 billion in new economic activity and more than 8,000 on-site jobs.
"While Los Angeles struggles to accommodate historic demand for production, other states and countries are racing to build new facilities. To maintain our edge as the content creation capital of the world, Los Angeles needs more state-of-the art sound stages and production space,” said L:AEDC president and chief executive officer Stephen Cheung. “The Radford Studio Center Plan delivers sorely needed facilities, keeps and creates thousands of good jobs, and opens new opportunities for businesses in Studio City and throughout the Los Angeles region.”
Hackman Capital has found success in recent years revamping many of L.A.'s historic production facilities, including the Culver Studios campus, which has become Amazon's Southern California base of operations. The Culer City-based firm is also planning a similar redevelopment of the Television City campus in the Fairfax district. Along with The MBS Group, Hackman has also invested in properties in New York, New Orleans, London, and Toronto.'
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