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[IMGCAP(1)]UNIVERSAL CITY, CA-NBC Universal has updated the previously revealed $3-billion, long-term plan for its 391-acre Universal Studios site that would add office space, housing units, new retail space, new production facilities and substantial other new development. The update revises land use plans for the studio and production areas as well as the residential neighborhood, and adds detail on transit and freeway improvements.

The NBC Universal Evolution Plan, formerly known as the Vision Plan, represents what the company calls a long-term investment to upgrade and improve NBC Universal’s studio production and post production facilities, add new media-related office space, enhance CityWalk and Universal Studios Hollywood theme park and create a new residential neighborhood with 35 acres of open space. The Evolution Plan also includes a $100 million transit and transportation package that is designed to improve mobility in the region and is the largest private sector investment in transportation in the San Fernando Valley in the last 25 years.

[IMGCAP(2)]The 391-acre Universal City property is home to Universal Studios, NBC, Universal Studios Hollywood theme park and Universal CityWalk. Ron Meyer, president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios, said in a statement regarding the plan that the company has been working with stakeholders, community leaders, businesses and government agencies to revise the plan since it was originally announced in late 2006. GlobeSt.com’s report at the time noted that Thomas Properties Group of Los Angeles was an adviser to NBC Universal on the long-range blueprint, and the latest Thomas quarterly report notes that the Downtown L.A.-based company is working on entitlements and master-planning for the project. The governmental entities that NBC Universal is working with include Los Angeles city and county agencies, Caltrans and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

Tom Smith, senior vice president of West Coast Real Estate for NBC Universal, said in the company’s announcement of the Evolution Plan that the updated blueprint “is an important step forward on how we will meet the challenges ahead for our industries by creating and securing important entertainment jobs, bringing much needed housing that is connected to transit and by investing in significant local, regional, transit and freeway improvements for the (San Fernando) Valley.” The Plan focuses on upgrading and creating new production facilities, providing office space, bringing a new hotel to the property and continuing to provide vitality to Universal Studios Hollywood theme park and CityWalk.

Studio plans include 308,000 net new square feet of production facilities, representing both new and relocated outdoor sets, sound stages, producer bungalows, a screening theater, a rehearsal hall and a film vault; 437,000 net new square feet of production support space and post production facilities as well as 495,000 net new square feet of modern offices, including a new Child Care Center and improved parking and traffic circulation.

Key elements of the theme park and CityWalk plans include 146,000 net new square feet of attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood, 39,000 net new square feet of retail, dining and entertainment venues at theme park and CityWalk, the option to replace the amphitheater with a smaller venue and a new 500-room hotel at CityWalk.

Other elements of the plan include 35 acres of open space featuring parks and trails as part of a residential community that is also part of a pilot program by the USGBC for LEED neighborhood development, called LEED-ND.

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