Large office and music studio project proposed in Hollywood

Developers led by a Grammy Award-winning artist plan to transform a prominent corner of Sunset Boulevard by building a $500 million office and reception center that will be one of the largest black-owned businesses in the Hollywood area would.

Plans for the 13-story indoor-outdoor complex are set to be presented to the city on Friday by Philip Lawrence, owner of famed Hollywood recording studio Record Plant, in conjunction with entertainment business executive Thomas St. John.

Lawrence, who won eight Grammys as a songwriter and record producer, has contracted with established real estate professionals to build the five-acre project at Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue across from Hollywood High School.

The complex was designed by HKSthe architectural firm that designed SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, home of the Super Bowl in February.

A rendering of the fifth floor rooftop terrace of the proposed development

A representation of the roof terrace on the fifth floor of the proposed Cmnty Culture Campus.

(HKS Architects)

Lawrence’s goal is to merge a high-quality recording studio with offices rented out to people in the entertainment industry. There would be public spaces, including an auditorium and amphitheater, where visitors could hear concerts in a landscaped setting high above the street.

“We want to create a place where artists can experience, advance, and access all aspects of entertainment,” Lawrence said. “So we’re building state-of-the-art recording facilities for music, film, composition and all the musical needs around production.”

Lawrence, who has worked with singers such as Bruno Mars and Adele, hopes to build on the success of those around him record plantwhere casual conversations in the hallway or in the communal kitchen can sometimes lead to artistic collaborations.

“The next thing you know,” Lawrence said, “there’s a big song with Beyonce, Ariana Grande, and Frank Ocean and people are like, ‘How did that happen?'”

That particular collaboration hasn’t happened yet, but Lawrence plans to go for luxe features that popular musicians might find appealing. Recording studios on the top floor with views of the Hollywood Hills and downtown LA would have kitchens, entertainment rooms, and dormitories.

“You could essentially live here while you cut tracks,” said architect Heath May of HKS. “The mission is to increase creativity.”

A rendering of the complex at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue

The proposed campus seen in a rendering of the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue looking north toward Highland.

(HKS Architects)

The complex is set to house some of the industry’s most prestigious recording studios, with pre- and post-production facilities, as well as so many other activities that May’s fellow architect Greg Verabian has compared the campus to an “ant farm.”

The largest component would be 430,000 square feet of offices for rent, perhaps to several entertainment companies looking for a Hollywood address, or to a large tenant who might want to brand the building with their corporate name. Office users would have access to landscaped outdoor terraces that could be used for work or off-duty hours overlooking concerts in the amphitheater on the fifth-floor park-like rooftop.

Responsible for the construction of the project is developer David Malmuth, who oversaw the development of the Hollywood & Highland entertainment and office complex (now known as Ovation Hollywood), where the annual Oscars are held.

The outdoor areas were designed by Studio Oakland Landscape architect Walter Hoodformer chair of landscape architecture at UC Berkeley, whose projects include the Broad Museum Plaza in downtown Los Angeles.

At street level would be a restaurant, coffeehouse, and a 500-seat auditorium that could be used for concerts, tenant events, public gatherings, or educational events.

“We see this place as an immersive playground for students, artists, creators and innovators of all kinds while creating more opportunity in the entertainment industry,” said St. John, executive director of Cmnty Culture, the black-owned music and media company he co-founded in 2020 Lawrence founded and should operate the new studios.

The proposed Hollywood development will be named the Cmnty Culture Campus, although this name could later be changed to reflect the identity of a large office tenant.

Lawrence and St. John intend to enroll students at Hollywood High, which offers magnet programs in performing arts and new media.

“We’re hoping to build sister programs,” Lawrence said, which could include classes, internships and master classes with entertainment professionals. “However, we can teach children to understand how the entertainment industry works,” he said. “Education is very important to the team and to me.”

The campus would have underground parking for 1,000 vehicles. It would replace commercial buildings, parking lots and a nursery. Residential buildings on the block would remain intact, developers said.

Commercial buildings on site include live house, a dance studio venue that has closed but is now on file with Cmnty Culture, Malmuth said. The developers plan to temporarily reopen Live House while planning the new campus.

Demand for office space in the coming years is uncertain as many companies reassess their space needs after working from home became commonplace during the COVID-19 pandemic, Malmuth acknowledged, but tech and entertainment producers were among the companies who are still expanding their office space.

Campus residents don’t necessarily have to be in the music business. Streaming entertainment provider Netflix is ​​the largest office tenant in Hollywood, and Sunset Boulevard is home to several film and recording studios.

Last year another developer announced plans for a $500 million glass-skinned office tower on Sunset near Gower Street, which is also intended to serve the entertainment industry.

Sunset, which has seen a resurgence in entertainment usage in recent decades, “has arguably become the world’s most important content creation corridor,” Malmuth said.

Still, the city’s approval for the project is not a foregone conclusion. The process usually takes 18 months or longer.

“We don’t expect to be able to make any claims,” ​​he said, but “we believe we have a project that is extremely attractive, both physically and in terms of job creation.”

If approved, construction of the campus would take about three years. Lawrence hopes it will eventually become a Hollywood fixture.

“This is our love letter to Hollywood,” he said, “to hopefully bring the community together for generations to come.” Large office and music studio project proposed in Hollywood

Adam Bradshaw

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