At its meeting on March 6, the Los Angeles City Council voted to move forward with a zone change and other approvals required for the construction of a new studio complex at the former site of a Sears department store in Hollywood.

Santa Monica Boulevard elevation of Echelon StudiosBob Hale / Rios

Echelon Studios, a joint venture between Bardas Investment Group and Bain Capital Real Estate, would rise from a full city block located at 5601 W. Santa Monica Boulevard. Plans call for the construction of new buildings featuring a total of:

  • approximately 110,000 square feet of production studios and support space;
  • more than 388,000 square feet of offices;
  • over 12,300 square feet of ground-floor restaurant space; and
  • parking for 981 vehicles in two subterranean levels.

Rios is designing Echelon Studios, which would include new buildings rising up to 93 feet in height along Santa Monica Boulevard, and shorter structures fronting Virginia Avenue to the north. Exterior finishes would include textured plaster cement board siding, perforated metal screens, and glass.

View of Echelon Studios from Santa Monica Boulevard and Wilton Place looking northeastBob Hale / Rios

"To the north smaller villa-like forms create an intimate scale that responds to the residential context along Virginia and give Echelon Studios its unique character," reads a project description from the Rios website. Circulation protects the site via distinct controlled public and private access points, while secret gardens and courtyards also allow for surprises within the complex. Echelon Studios also features ground level retail that engages the public along the street."

City records also indicate that House & Robertson is part of the project design team.

The vote by the City Council also grants a request from Bardas and Bain Capital which sought to override a previous requirement to dedicate land to widen streets which surround the project site. That requirement was a vestige of an approval granted to a prior owner for a  mixed-use residential project, and was determined to not be necessary to meet the city's mobility needs, per a letter issued by the office of 13th District Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez, who represents Hollywood.

5601 Santa Monica BoulevardGoogle Maps

When construction begins, it is expected that Echelon Studios would be completed within three years.

The joint venture between Bain Capital and Bardas, formed in 2019, is expected to build more than 1 million square feet of new studio developments. That total includes both the Echelon project at 5601 Santa Monica, as well as a $600-million project announced in 2022 which would bring new offices and soundstages to the Television Center complex in Hollywood.

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