Major expansion of the Burbank-based movie and TV studio’s headquarters, my old stomping ground is getting a face left. The construction endeavor is part of a larger expansion of Warner Bros.’ footprint in the area that includes the acquisition of Burbank Studios. The acquisition and building project is expected to conclude in 2023, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the studio’s founding. As part of the deal, Warner Bros. is selling its historic North Hollywood Way facility known as the Ranch lot.
Warner Bros. is calling the design and construction phases of its new effort the Second Century Project, in honor of its upcoming centennial. The deal comes amid a production boom driven by massive demand for TV and film content. Buying Burbank Studios will allow Warner Bros. to expand production efforts, providing additional office space, eight soundstages, a mill building and a commissary, the studio said when the deal was announced.
The real estate deal represents a full-circle return for Warner Bros., which is buying back property it once owned. Studio co-founder Jack Warner sold the parcel to NBC in 1951. In 2007, NBC’s then-owner, General Electric Co., sold the property to prominent developer for about $250 million. Burbank Studios site, where they will build the Gehry-designed office towers, which Warner Bros. will occupy as the sole tenant. The 800,000-square-foot office complex will consist of a seven-story building and a nine-story structure. Once ready, the studio plans to move its operations at the Ranch to Burbank Studios.
The Ranch, which will continue to operate as a studio and office complex, has a rich Hollywood history. It was used for filming the movie “Lethal Weapon” and the TV series “Bewitched.” The opening credits of Warner Bros.’ 1990s sitcom “Friends” feature the cast members in a fountain near the center of that lot.