Warner Bros. breaks ground on $1 billion development

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Warner Bros. broke ground recently on two office buildings designed by Frank Gehry. The development is adjacent to its main lot in the Burbank Media District in Los Angeles County.

The project, developed by Worthe Real Estate Group and its partner Stockbridge Real Estate Fund, will combine state-of-the-art technology with a dynamic work environment in order to accelerate the Studio’s competitive advantages, will be called the Second Century in recognition of Warner’s 100th anniversary in 2023.

In total, the complex will include 800,000-sq.-ft. – a seven-story building of about 355,000 sq. ft. and a nine-story building of approximately 445,000 sq. ft. and is an expansion of the Burbank movie and TV studio’s headquarters.  According to the Los Angeles Times, construction is part of a larger expansion that includes the acquisition of Burbank Studios, and has a combined estimated value of more than $1 billion.

It will be built opposite Warner Bros headquarters on the other side of the Ventura Freeway. It will comprise two huge office buildings broken up into stepped, staggered and slanted fragments, and fronted by glass.

A terraced, punched-metal facade will run along the rear of the building and is intended to reference the scale and aesthetic of the existing studio buildings.

Warner Bros will also purchase the Burbank Studios property – located next to the plot of the new build – from Worthe Real Estate Group and Stockbridge Real Estate for production office space, eight sound stages, a mill building and a commissary.

Warner Bros Chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff, welcomed 200 guests to the ground-breaking ceremony last week, including Gehry and Burbank Mayor Sharon Springer.

“These incredible new buildings will combine state-of-the-art technology with a dynamic work environment and allow us to re-imagine not only our workspace but our future,” Sarnoff said at the ceremony. “This is an investment in our employees, our creative and business partners, and the Burbank community.”

Newsom applauded the construction project which he says will create jobs and pump money into the state economy.

“This is a project that shows confidence in our future,” the mayor said at the ceremony, adding that it is a “big deal” for Burbank, the region and the entire state of California.

Construction on the development, known as Second Century Project, will take place in two phases. Warner Bros plans to move into the new buildings in 2023, coinciding with the AT&T-owned studio’s 100th anniversary.

Gehry, a Canadian-American architect designed the buildings to resemble “icebergs floating along the freeway” and extending the entertainment company’s current building in the Burbank Media District.

He was quoted in the Times saying the project will “recapture that feeling of old Hollywood splendour” that existed during its early years.

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