The former Pickford-Fairbanks Studio/United Artists Studio/Samuel Goldwyn Studio/Warner Hollywood Studio is set for partial demolition, as developer CIM Group preps to majorly expand the lot's capacity. As you might have guessed by now, the place holds quite a bit of Hollywood history. The 11 acre lot now known as The Lot sits at Santa Monica and Formosa in West Hollywood, just west of the Target, with a little seepage into the city of LA. It was originally built in 1919 by silent filmmaker Jesse Hampton, who sold to Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, who eventually teamed up with Charlie Chaplin and DW Griffith to form United Artists. Tenants now say their leases are being allowed to expire and a WeHo planner tells the LA Times that CIM will begin demolition "in a few weeks" for a six-phase project that "will more than double the studio's space to 671,087 square feet." That includes the addition of three new soundstages and buildings up to six stories high. Up for demolition: the 1927 Pickford building, the 1932 Goldwyn building (now used for sound editing), the Writers Building, the Fairbanks Building, the Editorial Building, Frank Sinatra's old bungalow, "and a block-long row of production offices that line Santa Monica Boulevard."
The studio has a sign calling it a "Potential Cultural Resource," which is not actually any kind of binding designation; the LA Conservancy and other preservation groups are now looking into what can be done to save the old studio. CIM intends to preserve "a wall-like facade that extends along Santa Monica Boulevard around [Howard] Hughes' secret garage entrance." But what about the possibly mythical tunnel that linked up the soundstages to the Formosa Cafe and the "ornate wooden door hand-built by Harrison Ford, who was working as a studio carpenter when he was "discovered" by filmmaker George Lucas"?
· Storied West Hollywood studio buildings to be demolished [LAT]