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Universal City Development Plan, Take Two

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Once NBC Universal had a Vision Plan. Now it has an Evolution Plan. The conglomerate put out a very long press release yesterday announcing new plans for its enormous Universal City project, and promising a new environmental impact report this winter. The project will turn Universal City into NBC Universal's headquarters (they've sold their lot in Burbank), add a residential section to the property, and bring all kinds of other improvements. The original Vision Plan went over like a lead balloon, mainly because it lacked enough traffic mitigation. NBC Universal says this Evolution Plan will cost $3 billion, with $100 million just for transit and transportation. Here are the details:

The residential portion will be 124 acres and include "a variety of housing options including apartments, townhomes and luxury condominiums all within a walkable community tied to nature, hiking trails, parks, restaurants and local shops all connected to transit, allowing residents the ability to live, work and play without a car." (The press release gets a little carried away with this: "This combination of attributes is not found in any community in Los Angeles today and could become a model for a new way to live in the City.")

Specifically, the residential development will have:
-- 2,900 units "at a variety of price points"
-- Mostly four to seven story buildings
-- A "limited number of height exceptions permitting taller buildings up to 19 stories in areas designed to avoid view impacts to the surrounding hillsides"
-- 180,000 square feet of community-serving retail

Proposed transit improvements include:
-- A new road through the development from Forest Lawn Drive to Buddy Holly Drive to be an alternative to Barham Boulevard
-- Shuttles for residents from the Metro Red Line station on Lankershim to the Burbank studios and Metro stations in Glendale and Hollywood
-- A new 101 south on-ramp from Universal Studios Boulevard
-- Employee and resident transit incentives
-- Assorted signal upgrades and synchronizations and streets widenings
Improvements to Lankershim, Barham, and Forest Lawn


-- Working with Caltrans, the plan also includes:?
-- Assisting in unlocking more than $200 million in transportation funding for the Valley
?-- Improving speeds and safety and reduce congestion by adding a northbound and southbound lanes on five miles of the 101 Freeway between the 134/101 interchange and Highland Avenue?
-- Upgrading the 134 and 101 Freeway interchange?

-- Improving the northbound on-ramp to the 101 Freeway at Highland And let's not forget this is the site of movie and television studios and a theme park:

Studio upgrades:
-- 308,000 new square feet of production facilities
-- 437,000 net new square feet of production support space and post production facilities
-- 495,000 net new square feet of modern offices, including a new Child Care Center

Universal Studios and CityWalk:
-- 146,000 new square feet of attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood
-- 39,000 new square feet of retail, restaurants, and entertainment venues at both sites
-- A 500 room hotel at CityWalk

Coming on the heels of news that GE is considering selling off majority stake in NBC Universal (Think of the 30 Rock gags!), Deadline Hollywood's Nikki Finke thinks this announcement has "interesting timing."
· NBC Universal Evolution [Official Site]
· New Details On Upgrading Universal City [Deadline Hollywood]
· Tom Labonge Throws Body In Front of NBC Universal Steamroller [Curbed LA]