It was a great day for the folks at Universal Studios Hollywood the city and county have given them the authority to build Harry Potter. Construction is set to begin this summer. Actually, Uni was blessed by the powers that be to embark on a massive 25 year “Evolution Plan” which will allow them to add studio, retail and entertainment space. Much of the NBC network space in Burbank will be relocated to Universal Studios, overall production facilities will be expanded, two new hotels will be built, and City Walk and the theme park will both see major upgrades.
Universal is expected to spend over 1.6 billion dollars on the announced portions of the project. In exchange for the unanimous support of County Supervisors, Universal has agreed to pay over $100 million for improvements to mass transit and community projects. The net result of the expansion is expected to bring over 30,000 jobs to the area and grow film production in LA.
Of course, what our readers are probably most excited about is the development of the theme park and the pending Harry Potter construction. We’ll have more for you very soon on that front.
Here’s the release that Universal put out today regarding the approval of their Evolution Plan, which was over seven years in the making:
UNIVERSAL CITY, California, April 23, 2013 – NBCUniversal announced today plans to begin construction of the first projects of its 25-year Evolution Plan. The Evolution Plan represents a $1.6 billion investment in tourism and production. This long-term investment in two industries that are vital to Los Angeles will create more than 30,000 jobs and generate $2 billion of economic activity during operations for the region.
“After nearly a decade of work on the Evolution Plan, today’s vote sets the stage for our next 100 years in Los Angeles,” said Ron Meyer, president and COO of Universal Studios. “We are thankful for the support and leadership we have received from both the County and City of Los Angeles and are ready to get started investing in these important tourism and production projects in the next few months.”
Starting in late summer, NBCUniversal will begin construction of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter themed land at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, as well as new and upgraded television production facilities, office space and infrastructure on the Universal Studios lot. These projects represent a nearly $500 million investment in the Los Angeles economy and the creation of more than 2,000 construction jobs alone.
“We thank Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, the entire Board of Supervisors, and County staff for providing us the path to bring much needed jobs and investment to Los Angeles,” said Corinne Verdery, Chief Real Estate Development and Planning Officer, NBCUniversal. “The working relationship we have built with the community was invaluable in developing our future plan and we are grateful to our nearly 7,500 supporters and union partners who have been with us every step of the way. We look forward to bringing The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Hollywood, forever changing the face of tourism in Los Angeles.”
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood will be a fully immersive experience for the entire family designed to bring the Harry Potter fiction and films to life with impeccable detail and authenticity. Similar to the dynamic Universal Orlando Resort themed land that opened in 2010, the Hollywood experience will be faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including Hogwarts castle that will serve as the centerpiece of the impressively themed environment. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a collaboration between Warner Bros. Entertainment and Universal Parks and Resorts.
On the Universal Studios lot, NBCUniversal will upgrade existing production facilities and add new capabilities to better respond to the needs of television production. In addition, NBCUniversal is looking to create modern offices that will house everything from post-production services to traditional office space.
Well folks, that’s a major bit of good news for Universal. Aside from Harry Potter, what would you like to see come to the Studios park?