Does LA Need More Soundstages?

Does LA Need More Soundstages?

Amid recent work stoppages related to last year’s twin entertainment strikes, the looming question on many developers’ minds is whether Los Angeles is in need of more soundstages, or if the region has reached a point of saturation.

“Personally, I don’t think enough time has passed coming out of the strikes to really gauge where demand is going to settle,” Sam Glendon, a first vice president at CBRE Group Inc. and industrial broker specializing in entertainment-related assets, said. “Having said that, I think there will be winners and losers in the space.”

Los Angeles remains on top in terms of studio supply. With more than 7.3 million square feet of soundstages, L.A. boasts the most film and television production space in North America, topping New York, Atlanta and British Columbia, Canada, according to a recent report published by CBRE.

Even with the rise in production expansion, with an increasing amount of productions opting to shoot outside of California or even the U.S. due to things such as tax incentives and more land, many industry veterans are confident that Los Angeles will remain unrivaled because of its sheer infrastructure.

According to a recent survey conducted by Raise Market Analytics, media and entertainment accounts for roughly 47% of all office tenant requirements in Los Angeles, underscoring its strong local demand. 

And as the race to produce more content remains, some developers are enticed to double down.

Multiple studio projects are  underway, including a $500 million redevelopment of the Warner Brothers Ranch Lot in Burbank.

One trend that Glendon highlighted is the notion of studio developers converting certain existing industrial warehouse spaces to suit stage film productions. 

Amid the long-term uncertainties related to Los Angeles’ resilience, warehouse conversions tend to be a safer and more flexible approach to building more soundstages while still meeting the increased demand.

“I’m a personal big believer in the converted warehouse model just because it can be done very quickly, it can be done inexpensively, it’s easy to reposition a property like that back to industrial down the road,” Glendon said. “Whereas some of these purpose-built projects can cost two or three times what it costs to convert an industrial building.”

Examples include the existing Quixote Studios at 13207 Bradley Ave. in Sylmar, the existing LA North Studios at 21401 Needham Ranch Pkwy. in Santa Clarita and Reframe Studios, under construction at 4561 Colorado Blvd. in Atwater Village.

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