Universal officials intend to file development applications with the city and county of Los Angeles early next year and begin an approval process that could take more than two years.
The project would create 17,000 construction jobs and add 11,000 permanent jobs to the 10,000 full- and part-time positions already at the studio, said NBC Universal, which is owned by General Electric Co.
The rolling land in the Cahuenga Pass is considered one of the region's prime pieces of property — and one of its most underdeveloped.
Plans by previous owners came to nothing amid vociferous opposition from neighbors and community leaders concerned about increased traffic congestion.
This time the studio reached out to public officials and homeowner groups in an effort to build support, although some groups were still waiting for more details before taking a stand.
Civic and business leaders voiced support for the project Wednesday.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the project would be good for the city because it would create housing and jobs for the region's growing population.
"This is a blockbuster, a transformative project, a city-making project, and it will ensure Los Angeles remains the entertainment capital of the world…. This represents the single largest investment in the history of the San Fernando Valley," he said.
Acknowledging that there would be criticism, Villaraigosa said the entertainment company would have to be responsive to residents and business owners.
Bruce Ackerman, president of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, said, "The big story is the creation of a new community in the middle of a metropolitan area, with the ultimate in smart growth and intelligent design concepts."