Owners of the nearly century-old Radford Studio Center, also known as the CBS Studio Center, have unveiled revamp plans for the storied facility — an estimated $1 billion for modern soundstages, production and support offices, sustainability measures, historic preservation and a transportation infrastructure.
ViacomCBS (now Paramount Global) sold the facility to Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital Management for $1.85 billion in 2021. Hackman has submitted its upgrade proposal, and if and when approved, the work will run in phases through 2028. The 1.2 million-square-foot site sits on 55 acres and hosts dozens of film and television productions a year as well as being home to CBS News’ Los Angeles bureau, KCAL News and Entertainment Tonight.
The plan proposes adding up to 1 million net square feet (well below what it’s zoned for, the plan noted).
Los Angeles and other production hubs still face a shortage of studio space. L.A. locations are operating at close to 100% capacity, sometimes with long waitlists that force productions elsewhere. Dozens of studios’ projects are planned or in development across the country and European centers to help meet demand, which well outstrips supply.
Radford Studio Center, originally Mack Sennett Studios, opened in 1928 as one of the most cutting-edge production facilities of its time. It has been home to such classic series The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Gilligan’s Island, Seinfeld, Will & Grace and That 70’s Show.
“This studio means so much to our community, not just as an important hub of content creation but as an economic engine for so many shops and restaurants on Ventura Boulevard and around Studio City,” said the Center’s president Michael Klausman. “We must ensure Radford remains a robust job creator and world-class production facility for decades to come.”
But “parts of the studio are severely outdated,” he added. “What we’re doing is keeping the facilities that are up to date and replacing obsolete spaces with the modern soundstages and production facilities that today’s content creators demand.”
The upgrade plans announced today include pledges to keep jobs local, honor the studio’s legacy, invest in an environmentally sustainable future and create “a vision for the future of the studio that respects its neighbors.”
Specifically, the plan includes:
- Capacity for 20-25 modern, purpose-built soundstages
- Flexible production offices and support facilities located adjacent to stages
- General office space
- Preservation of historic portions of the studio
- Activation of the Los Angeles River Master Plan, connecting bicyclists and pedestrians to trails
- Improved site ingress/egress through two new studio gates; simplified, as well as streamlined internal circulation
- Ample onsite basecamp and parking
- A robust transportation demand management program and “new multi-modal mobility hubs”
- Enhanced public and pedestrian experience
- Sustainability features throughout, including a commitment to an all-electric studio
“This plan was designed with Studio City in mind — fitting the scale and character of our community,” said Hackman SVP Zach Sokoloff. “It embraces industry-leading sustainability investments and provides modern production facilities to keep productions and jobs in Los Angeles, positioning the studio for another century of preeminence.”
The real estate devloper cited a report by the L.A. County Economic Development Corporation that the Radford plan when completed would result in $2.37 billion in total economic output during construction, generate $5.5 billion annually and support an estimated 8,070 direct jobs.