In a unanimous vote yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council approved the Paramount Pictures master plan expansion project, which will add about 1.4 million square feet of floor space to the studio’s current facilities over the next 25 years. The approved plan will also provide $7.2 million in neighborhood improvements, and $475,000 for traffic mitigation in the surrounding area.
The approved version of the expansion plan, which has been through about five years of iterations and community discussions, also involves demolition of many of the lot’s older soundstages and other facilities, and the construction of a new 150-foot tall office building. (The tower was scaled back from the originally-proposed 240 feet after neighbors successfully argued that a taller building would be out of scale with the surrounding neighborhood. Neighbors were also successful in removing new electronic billboards from the original proposal.)
In an LA Times story about the vote, City Council Member Mitch O’Farrell seemed pleased with the deal, saying “Paramount has found a way to grow and evolve into the future with minimum impact to the surrounding neighborhood,” and that Paramount has found a way to “keep Hollywood in Hollywood.”
This morning, City Council Member David Ryu released a statement about the outcome, in which he said, “I initially expressed concerns with the original proposed project, but after working side by side with my constituents and Paramount Pictures, we were able to find common ground to resolve the impacts on the neighborhoods I represent. I especially want to thank Paramount for agreeing to reduce the height of their proposed office tower by 100 feet. This new design will provide much-needed office space for Paramount while matching the character and scale of the neighborhood.”
Ryu went on to say that he’s also “very happy” about the elimination of the digital billboards, which would have had an “enormous” impact on surrounding neighborhoods…and also the the traffic mitigation funds Paramount is providing, along with a $25,000 contribution to an historical resources survey for the Larchmont Village neighborhood’s HPOZ effort.
In the Times story, Paramount spokesperson Sharon Keyser said the plans will be executed in phases, depending on “which parts of the lot are most in need.” A start date has not been set yet.