Master Plan Is Of Paramount Importance

Last week, the City held a public hearing on the proposed 25-year Master Plan for Paramount Pictures. This storied studio, which dates back to 1912, is the last remaining major studio located in Hollywood proper. Warner Bros., Columbia, Fox and Disney got their start here, but all moved out many decades ago. As hearings go, this one was cordial. Even those who had issues were on their best behavior. Everyone understands how important Paramount is to our community.

As Chamber President & CEO, I pointed out how critical Paramount is from a jobs standpoint. With 5,000 people employed on the lot on an average day, Paramount is our jobs anchor in South Hollywood. That is important to our economy because there are numerous ancillary jobs nearby that depend on Paramount – whether a restaurant or prop house or catering truck.

These are by and large middle income jobs. And that is important in Los Angeles – which is the most expensive city in the nation on an income to housing costs basis. It costs a lot to live here. With sharp declines in the aerospace and manufacturing sectors since the 1990s, it is vital that we grow our homegrown entertainment industry.

When you consider that there are only about 200 acres in all of Hollywood that are industrially zoned, it means that we must maximize the jobs on the industrial land that we do have. And Paramount occupies 56 acres, plus an adjacent six acres used primarily for parking. That is more than a quarter of our entire industrially-zoned land.

In order for Paramount to survive in the very competitive entertainment sector, it must be able to expand to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. It was pointed out at the hearing that Paramount is the last of the major studios to update its master plan. That provides them with the perspective to see what their competitors are doing.

It also clearly delineates why they need to plan for technologically advanced sound stages with adjacent production offices, new climate control and lighting systems. It explains why they will need high-tech post production facilities, and adequate parking. It demonstrates why upgraded employee amenities are planned. It is all about competition.

Over the next 25 years, under the proposed plan, Paramount will invest $700-million with a $1.1-billion economic output during construction, which will generate 7,300 construction jobs. However, for me the more important figure is the number of permanent jobs that will be accommodated on the lot once the plan is fully implemented – 12,600 jobs with $3.1-billion in annual economic output. Those are jobs that will enable employees to truly have a “living wage”. Those are jobs that many of our children will occupy.

A year ago, the State of California approved AB1839, which vastly increased funding to compete for entertainment jobs, and to bring them back from other states, due to their film tax credit program. In the subsequent year, we have seen just how successful the program has been. We now have a chance to grow this industry once more – and we must, if we are to demonstrate to the State that their investment was worthwhile.

What I heard at the hearing were typical concerns – traffic, the height of some buildings, making parking structures attractive, the preservation of historic resources, signage. These are issues that I’m sure will be addressed by Paramount as it moves forward with its plan. I did not hear any issues that were insurmountable. We encourage the City to approve a reasonable plan for Paramount and for our community. We all have a stake in Paramount’s future.

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Leron Gubler has been serving as the President and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for the past 24 years. His tenure since 1992 continues to oversee the great comeback story of Hollywood

5 thoughts on “Master Plan Is Of Paramount Importance”

  1. Paramount has always been a good neighbor and has contributed to the Community in many ways; not just jobs. I look forward with enthusiasm to the new Paramount 21st Century. A very strong supporter as both a 34 year resident of Hollywood and a 36 year small business owner. Small business lost a great deal when the film Industry dispersed and we are really pleased to see the Hollywood resurgence.

  2. The Hollywood Chamber of commerce seems to have forgotten the lack of light Industrial zoning until Paramount “the Last remaining major studio in Hollywood” asked for your approval.
    Where were you when the KCOP lot on Willoughby Avenue was sold, rezoned and rebuilt as a large mixed use development? Despite the recommendation that this industrial zoning be preserved, that this zoning was one of the last industrial areas in Hollywood, you turned a blind eye when PARAMOUNT STUDIOS bought KCOP, moved the station to Culver City and let the valuable property rot. We now have a very expensive Apartment complex on the site that nobody who works in Hollywood can afford to rent. What is the use of proclaiming that the mixed use developments will keep the workforce near to the workplace. Paramount doesn’t care. They’ve torn down whole blocks of affordable housing for parking structures and I am sure they intend to tear down more of Historic Hollywood. You are driving working families out of your town.

  3. In order for Paramount to survive in the very competitive entertainment sector, it must be able to expand to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. It was pointed out at the hearing that Paramount is the last of the major studios to update its master plan. That provides them with the perspective to see what their competitors are doing.

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  5. As a member of the Hollywood Chamber I completely understand your perspective. But as a resident of Larchmont Village and living just a block south of Paramount Studios I have a different view. I have a business in Hollywood and do not want Paramount to go away. But you make light in your last paragraph of the concerns of the neighborhood.
    Paramount wants to add 3500 parking spaces to the lot. 3500 more cars in an already overcrowded area. What would you do if a company wanted to add 3500 parking spaces a block from where you live? Our residential streets are already experiencing cars racing between Melrose and Beverly and it is almost impossible to cross Clinton (the street south of Melrose) in the morning because it is the alternative route to a stopped Melrose. We walk to work because driving the half mile takes longer than walking.

    You say the issues aren’t insurmountable but so far Paramount has been unwilling to budge on anything. The height of the building they want (15 stories) is completely out of scale to our neighborhood. There are other solutions but their rep told us, “it isn’t convenient for us.” They want to take over our neighborhood.

    I realize jobs are important. But so is the quality of life. When is enough enough? We asked if they could build the office building smaller and put it toward the back of the lot so it wasn’t so intrusive but once again were told , “that isn’t really convenient.”

    I am sure there is a solution. That would be great. Can they build up on Santa Monica which is 1/4 mile away and more business oriented? Our neighborhood understands the tax dollars that Paramount contributes. I wish Paramount shared your view that there weren’t any “issues that were insurmountable.” But so far they don’t seem to be willing to change their plans to make it easier on the neighborhood.

    As a Chamber of Commerce your job is to encourage growth and jobs. I respect that. As a business owner I welcome an opportunity to create more business. This project could be exciting if it wasn’t so overwhelming. We will continue to hope that it all works out

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