Plans by KABC-TV Channel 7 to move its television news studios and offices to a new 100,000-square-foot facility at Taylor Yard near Elysian Park are falling apart because of noise from nearby railroad tracks.
KABC-TV was in negotiations to move sound stages, and administrative and executive offices from ABC Television Center in East Hollywood to a 10-acre site at Taylor Yard, an old railroad switching station and maintenance yard.
But city officials say the deal is unraveling because trains still pass through the yard, generating noise that could disrupt taping and live broadcasts.
“They found out that because of the nature of the soil, the vibrations of the trains as they roll by would be disturbing the studios too much,” said Ed Reyes, chief deputy for economic development to Councilman Mike Hernandez, whose district includes Taylor Yard.
Officials from KABC-TV and Walt Disney Co., parent company of ABC Inc., declined comment last week.
Both KABC and Federal Express Corp. which plans to build a 100,000-square-foot distribution hub to service downtown L.A. at the yard have been in discussions to move onto the site. Plans to build the Federal Express facility are close to being finalized, according to city officials.
Reyes said he was told it would cost between $12 million and $15 million to mitigate against the vibrations too much to make moving to Taylor Yard cost-effective for the television station.
But Rocky Delgadillo, deputy mayor for economic development, said there still is a possibility that KABC-TV could move into the yard.
“The existing project is on hold, but that doesn’t mean that other opportunities at Taylor Yard might not work,” Delgadillo said, adding that another site at the yard could still work.
“If you’re further away from the train tracks, you could mitigate (the noise) in a much more significant way,” he said.
Mike Furtney, a spokesman for Union Pacific Railroad Co., which owns much of Taylor Yard, would not comment at length on the land purchases.
“One deal is expected to close within the next week to 10 days,” Furtney said, in apparent reference to Federal Express. “And then there is one that looks as if it’s going south on us that is not going to happen. So we’re kind of batting .500 at this point I guess.”
Jess Bunn, a spokesman with Memphis, Tenn.-based Federal Express, said it was too soon to declare a done deal.
“Until we get all the legal i’s dotted and t’s crossed – and we’re not there yet – it’s our policy not to talk about those things until we’ve got all those legal hurdles crossed,” Bunn said.
In the meantime, Delgadillo said that he and L.A.’s Business Team a unit of Mayor Richard Riordan’s office devoted to business attraction and retention in the city are also working to bring other businesses to Taylor Yard.
Among the ideas they have for the yard are an industrial park devoted to processing of Mexican food; a multimedia training center for the L.A. Community College District; television sound stages; and light manufacturing facilities.
City officials also hope to attract retail stores, restaurants and movie theaters to serve local residents. They would be mixed in with the plants and other businesses at the yard, Delgadillo said.
Taylor Yard has a history stretching back to the early days of Los Angeles when a portion of the yard located just northeast of Dodger Stadium was included in the land grant that birthed the pueblo in 1769.
The 160-acre plot of land, which runs along the L.A. River and abuts Cypress Park and Glassell Park, was not developed until after World War I, when Southern Pacific Railroad built it into a freight-switching station, where cargo was combined and trains repaired.
But in 1985 Taylor Yard closed as a switching station, taking hundreds of local jobs with it.