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Universal City II: The Revenge

Another slate of chain restaurants, chain retail, “thrill” rides may be coming to Universal City! NBC Universal announced yesterday that it is developing a master plan for much of the unused land on its 400 acre parcel near Cahuenga Pass. The plan will look at adding residential projects, backlot expansion, production facilities, retail facilities, hotel space, and office space. In addition, the plan will consider changes to the Theme Park and CityWalk. Developer Thomas Properties Group Inc. and architectural firm Rios Clementi Hale Studios have been hired to assess the property and to create a master plan.

After earlier failed attempts to develop unused land, Universal has now decided that it will listen to public as the development proceeds. How novel! Among the concerns about the future development are the traffic clusterf**k on adjacent streets and whether fat tourists can get from Buca di Beppo to the studio tour to the Theme Park without ever having to walk. Some see the potential for a real improvement, however.

Bruce Ackerman, chief executive officer of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, said Wednesday that he is watching the developments unfold with hopeful enthusiasm.

"They have so much of an opportunity there," Ackerman said. "They could create an urban village in that setting that would be spectacular. If they do the right job, which I trust they will do, they could end up with a mixed-use project that could be a model for development for the future of urban California." Let’s keep our fingers crossed that NBC Universal doesn’t f**k it up and give us another mall/office complex.
· Universal Moves to Develop Property [LA Times]
· NBC Universal Puts Universal City Plan in Motion [Reuters]
· Universal Undertakes Master Plan [Daily News]