A long-shuttered Sears department store just west of the US-101 freeway in Hollywood has been razed to make way for new studio complex.

Santa Monica Boulevard elevation of Echelon StudiosBob Hale / Rios

Echelon Studios, a joint venture between Bardas Investment Group and Bain Capital Real Estate, will span a full city block at 5601 W. Santa Monica Boulevard. Work on the complex, which began earlier this year, calls for the construction of multiple buildings containing a combined total of:

  • 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.

Los Angeles-based architecture firm Rios is designing the complex, which would include new construction of up to 93 feet in height along Santa Monica Boulevard, while shorter buildings would face Virginia Avenue to the north. Renderings portray a contemporary look, with plans calling for finishes including textured plaster cement board siding, perforated metal screens, and glass.

Aerial view looking southeastHunter Kerhart Architectural Photography

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

"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."

View of Echelon Studios from Virginia Avenue looking southeast toward Downtown Los AngelesBob Hale / Rios

An environmental report circulated for the project estimates that construction will be completed in approximately three years.

Bain Capital and Bardas formed their joint venture in 2019, and have announced plans for more than 1 million square feet of new studio developments. Its next large-scale project is  a $600-million redevelopment which would bring new offices and soundstages to the Television Center complex in Hollywood.

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