With another year of construction under its belt, NBCUniversal's new back lot office campus is rapidly taking shape at Universal Studios.
The Campus, which is a component of the 2013 NBCUniversal Evolution Plan, occupies a space near the park's main entrance on the north side of Universal Hollywood Drive. In the place of a collection of small production buildings, the new project includes:
- an 11-story, 331,000-square-foot office building;
- an 84,000-square-foot employee center known as "the Commons";
- an eight-story, 1,265-car parking garage; and
- the addition of offices, food services, conference facilities, and screening rooms to existing buildings.
House & Robertson Architects, Lever Architecture, and James Corner Field Operations are designing the Campus, which links its buildings together through a series of landscaped walkways and gardens, some of which open onto Lankershim Boulevard.
"Outdoor amenities are central to the expansion: the siting of the new office building and the Commons building work together with the existing structures to frame a new central green at the social heart of the campus," reads a narrative from the Lever Architecture website. "Lawns shaded by mature trees make the green a flexible space for picnics and events, from movie screenings and farmer’s markets to all-hands town hall meetings and galas."
The new office building, located at the southernmost section of the campus, includes a "flex floor" common space with a cafe, meeting rooms, and screening rooms, which spills out onto an exterior terrace.
To the north across the project's central green space, the Commons has a curving footprint, housing uses such as a commissary , a large special events theater, two screening rooms, and space for events with up to 1,000 attendees.
The project comes at a time when legacy studios across L.A. County are moving to modernize and expand their facilities. A 1.4-million-square-foot expansion of the Paramount Pictures lot was approved in 2016, while entitlements are pending for $1.5-billion overhaul of Fox Studios in Century City.
Before the adoption of the Evolution plan, NBCUniversal had pursued expansion onto 14 acres of Metro-owned property adjacent to the Universal City/Studio City subway station across Lankershim Boulevard. While that project was scuttled amid community opposition in 2012, recent moves by Metro indicate that a redevelopment of the property may once again be on the table.
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