As modern soundstage developments rise in Hollywood and emerging film markets elsewhere around the country, also in the works are closely related production facilities that, likewise, tap into the future of entertainment and creative production space. In the heart of Hollywood, the global architecture firm HKS is designing CMNTY Culture Campus. The project’s owner and developer, CMNTY Culture, is a Black-owned music label and entertainment company looking to fill a void in the music community with this new development, which it calls a love song to Los Angeles.
Designed for content creators in music, gaming, and other entertainment channels, the mixed-use development is projected to have 50,000 square feet (4,600 sq m) of music studio and production space, 430,000 square feet (40,000 sq m) of office space, and 4,400 square feet (400 sq m) of retail space. Additionally, the campus will have 10,000 square feet (900 sq m) of artist hospitality space and 10,000 square feet (900 sq m) of education and performance space. Plans also call for a deployable bandshell on the fifth-floor roof deck that can be lowered when not in use or raised to create an acoustic buffer, according to HKS.
Like other new soundstage developments, this project is being designed in a way that invites and allows the surrounding community to see inside. The project nearly splits into two buildings, with a wide opening in the middle, where several floors of office space with green terraces overlook a roof deck space on the fifth floor of the complex.
“In the music industry, there’s not anything like this right now, especially with the flexibility of uses in a vertical environment,” says Greg Verabian, partner and regional practice director, commercial/mixed use, at HKS, who calls the campus a marquee project for his firm.
On the opposite coast, a just-announced project is set to be Manhattan’s first-ever movie studio. A trio of high-profile real estate players is set to partner with the New York City Economic Development Corporation in a public-private arrangement to build Sunset Pier 94 Studios. Located along the Hudson River in Midtown Manhattan, the $350 million project will be developed by Vornado Realty Trust, Hudson Pacific Properties (HPP), and Blackstone.
The facility is to have six soundstages and 145,000 square feet (13,500 sq m) of production support space and offices. Many of the stages are to have tech infrastructure that can provide for virtual production. The project is part of the Sunset Studios portfolio that HPP operates, and is targeting LEED Gold and Fitwel certification, with plans for the development eventually to be powered entirely by renewable energy. Included in the development are upgrades to public spaces, such as public restrooms for the surrounding Hudson River Park, community space, and 25,000 square feet (2,300 sq m) of waterfront
These new production facilities speak to the changes the entertainment industry has undergone during the last decade, as streaming platforms found massive audiences around the world, and became film and episodic-content powerhouses. At the same time, streamers of music, podcasts, and shorter-form video content have also exploded. This new era in entertainment requires the kind of modern, versatile facilities that are taking shape in Hollywood and beyond, and that can support different uses and new needs. Instead of the walled-off fortresses of the past, today’s new production centers are more visible, inviting, and connected to their surrounding communities.
HOLLY DUTTON is a Brooklyn-based journalist who has reported on real estate for more than 10 years. A Texas native, she spent her early years in journalism covering local politics and photographing professional basketball for publications including the Houston Chronicle.