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NBC Universal Moving Ahead With Studio, Residential Project

A draft environmental impact report is expected to be released this winter on a proposed project by NBC Universal to upgrade its studio and post-production facilities, enhance CityWalk and Universal Studios and Hollywood, and build a new residential neighborhood. The long-range plan was originally dubbed the Vision Plan, which has now been renamed the Evolution Plan by the media and entertainment conglomerate. Since announcing the plan almost three years ago, NBC Universal has refined portions of the project. “We believe the Evolution Plan 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 Valley,” said Tom Smith, senior vice president, West Coast Real Estate, NBC Universal. The company will invest $100 million for traffic improvements that will include improving more than 100 intersections with signal upgrades, widenings, and synchronizing signals; adding a new southbound on-ramp to the Hollywood (101) Freeway from Universal Studios Boulevard; constructing a new road to serve the residential community; and setting up shuttles to public transportation and neighboring cities; and providing transit incentives for employees at the studio/theme park complex and residents. “Working with local transportation experts, we have created a plan aimed at connecting our employees, guests and residents to the Metro system while at the same time investing in important improvements that address our impacts and bring significant new benefits to the region,” Smith said. The Evolution Plan is not to be confused with the proposed Metro Studio@Lankershim to be built outside the Universal gates by the Thomas Properties Group. That two-phase project includes commercial and media production uses. Mark R. Madler

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