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Wednesday, Feb 21, 2024

Soundstages to Rise in Sylmar

DEVELOPMENT: $500 million project begins construction.

Amid high demand for soundstages from digital streaming platforms, a groundbreaking ceremony was held May 16 for Sylmar Studios, a film and television production facility featuring 12 soundstages on 27 acres expected to open next year.

Sylmar Studios executives and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez assembled in Sylmar for the start of the $500 million development project, which will feature 120,000 square feet of office spaces, plus stages, post-production and support facilities for a 300,000-square-foot total footprint. 

The entertainment production campus will feature the latest HVAC and electrical systems, including backup power and 24-hour security on campus.  

“We are designing Sylmar Studios to be one of the most technologically advanced production facilities in the world, ensuring that Southern California film and television productions and the jobs that come with it stay in our state for years to come,” Tony Guanci, chief executive of Sylmar Studios, said at the groundbreaking. “Councilwoman Rodriguez’s efforts to help clear the way for this project in her district have been invaluable. Sylmar Studios will be hugely positive for the local creative community and for the thousands of jobs that this new facility will help to support in Sylmar, which is primed to thrive.”

The Sylmar location is strategic with access to The Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros. Discovery in Burbank and Comcast Corp.’s Universal Studios in Universal City.

The Sylmar entertainment campus will be developed and built by Xebec Realty Partners on San Fernando Road.

“The Northeast San Fernando Valley has historically trailed in quality economic opportunities and since taking office I have been working to bring new industries and jobs into our area,” said Rodriguez in a statement. “Sylmar Studios, a state-of-the-art film and television production facility, will provide a major economic impact to drive the local economy and create a space for local production for television and film.”

Plenty of demand

Demand for places to create content has yet to peak in the North Los Angeles market.

Quixote Studios has five soundstages at its North Valley Studios in Pacoima at 12137 Montague St. That $25 million, 75,000-square-foot facility, which opened in August 2019, was also created by Xebec Realty. Quixote expanded in 2021 when it signed a lease for 123,974 square feet at nearby 12154 Montague St. in Pacoima.

In Sun Valley, partners Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. and Blackstone secured a $94 million loan to build Sunset Glenoaks Studio, which will see seven soundstages cover 241,000 square feet at 11070 W. Peoria St. That joint venture is estimated to cost between $180 million and $200 million.

Last October, it was announced that Warner Bros.’ historic Ranch Lot will be redeveloped to include 16 soundstages in what buyer Worthe Real Estate Group called the largest studio development in the U.S. Worthe is developing the stages – along with a connected production support space, a multi-level parking structure, a commissary, mill space and a 320,000-square-foot office complex – while Warner Bros. will lease back the property beginning in 2025. Once this project is complete, it will bring a total of 56 soundstages into Warner Bros. Discovery’s fold.

A month later, Viacom CBS announced the sale of CBS Studio Center, the 55-acre site in Studio City, for $1.85 billion to a pair of investment firms, Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital Management. The sale included 22 soundstages, production offices and support buildings and backlot locations that were used for the filming of such television series as “Gunsmoke,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “American Gladiators.”

In February 2021, Viacom CBS, the owners of CBS Television City in Los Angeles, announced a $1.25 billion expansion and upgrade of the production facility, which will see the number of soundstages go from eight to 15, as well as the addition of new production office space and support facilities.

Michael Aushenker
Michael Aushenker
A graduate of Cornell University, Michael covers commercial real estate for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. Prior to the Business Journal, Michael covered the community and entertainment beats as a staff writer for various newspapers, including the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, The Palisadian-Post, The Argonaut and Acorn Newspapers. He has also freelanced for the Santa Barbara Independent, VC Reporter, Malibu Times and Los Feliz Ledger.

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