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Report on NBC's Universal Evolution Almost As Large As Project Itself

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Just a part of the project; this is Barham Boulevard - South. One of many images from the DEIR

With a final completion date of 2030, NBC Universal's planned overhaul of its Universal City complex will add residential units, a hotel, and studio and office space on the nearly 400 acre-campus. And despite other large-scale projects being placed on hold, this one looks like it's going forward. The draft environmental impact report was released yesterday-- and it's a whopping 39,000 pages. City Councilman Tom LaBonge, whose district covers this portion of the Valley, has sent a letter to the Los Angeles Planning Department requesting that the comment period is extended from 45 days (update: actually, this report says 60 days) to a minimum of 90 days. "The distribution of this report is very important, and I want to be certain the report is widely available and the public has ample time to review it," he tells us. Indeed. Maybe pencil out a week or so to lay down and read this mammoth report.

The LA Times today has a good overview of the whole project, reporting that "NBC Universal's plan calls for 2,937 residential units to be built in low-, mid- and high-rise buildings at the east end of the studio's property. The apartments and condos would be served by neighborhood shops and restaurants. The neighborhood would be reached by a new north-south street running parallel to Barham Boulevard and served by shuttle buses to the subway stop on Lankershim Boulevard."

And below, just some elements about this project, which will be built in phases. (And yup, this project, which will rise both on city and county land, is still expected to cost at least $3 billion.)

---A total of 2,937 residential dwelling units and 115,000 square feet of retail/commercial uses are planned. Additionally, a 500-space hotel would be built. Approximately 638,000 square feet of existing studio, office, and entertainment uses would be demolished.

---The project is so big that a new regional branch would need to be constructed to meet City’s library service standards.

---An extensive bike path network within the project is planed, one with bike rack and locks at various locations along the route.

--In the same way that LA Live has its own specific plan, NBC Universal is asking for two new specific plans (one for the city and one for the LA County). Under this new specific plan, they are requesting signage--which would range from supergraphics to electronic signs--on their buildings.

--The impact of the overall project on the surrounding neighborhoods is broken down in this report. It's too detailed to get into for each neighborhood, but if, for instance, you live in Hollywood Manor, you can read about the possible effects. All of that information is in the summary. Click on the report on the City Planning's web site, and then pull down Volume 1, "Introduction/Summary." You may also want to click on the other Volume tabs, as they deal with issues like noise, glare, etc.

--As far as traffic, the site is expected to generate a net increase of 28,108 daily trips on a typical weekday, including approximately 2,328 morning peak hour trips and 2,770 afternoon peak hour trips.

--New roadways would be built, while numerous roads will be widened: Among then, Buddy Holly Drive between Barham Boulevard and the US 101 northbound off-ramp shall be widened from its current state.

--And if you want to weigh in: Written responses will be prepared on all comments received during the public review period and at the public hearings held prior to completion of the Final EIR. All comments or questions about the Draft EIR should be addressed to: Jon Foreman, Senior City Planner/Project Coordinator
Department of City Planning
Universal City Projects Unit
200 N Spring Street, Room 273-A
Los Angeles, California 90012
Fax: (213) 978-6566.

· Universal City development plan advances [LA Times]