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H’w’d to downtown

Center Studios to house six soundstages

Banking on the prediction of a long-term shortage of studio space, local developers are moving forward with their plan to build Los Angeles Center Studios downtown.

In a marketing plan recently released to potential occupants and investors, Los Angeles-based Smith & Hricik Development Co. and its partner, the Hollywood Location Co., have unveiled some details of the proposed 18.5-acre project, which will be located at the former headquarters of Unocal Corp. The project is skedded to be completed by the end of 1998.

The companies’ plan is to initially build six 18,000-square-foot soundstages with enough space to add eight additional stages of the same size if needed. The complex already includes 400,000 square feet of office space, 1,400 underground parking spaces, a 550-seat theater and a full-size commissary.

The location itself has already been broken in. Since Unocal vacated last year, productions visiting the building have included “The Game,” “Money Talks,” “Mad City” and “X-Files.” According to S&H principal Weston Munselle, 180 film, TV and commercial productions have already lensed at the site this year.

Could there be a glut of studio space, considering the number of companies planning to build production facilities, including the proposed DreamWorks’ Playa Vista campus, Manhattan Beach Studios and LuxCore Studios in Culver City?

Given the trend of rising L.A. production, several industry execs and location managers surveyed don’t think so. “If all the studios are built, I don’t think it will be close to meeting the needs in five or 10 years,” one well-placed exec said.

Mayor ups Slaughter

Mayor Richard Riordan has promoted Lesa Slaughter from business representative to director of the Los Angeles Business Team.

“From the revitalization of Hollywood Boulevard to her work in retaining and expanding companies throughout L.A., she has been a catalyst for economic development,” Riordan said in a statement. “Her talents and energy will be great assets as she takes on the role of leading the business team.”

Previously, as a city business rep in the Hollywood district, Slaughter was instrumental in the startup of the Hollywood Economic Alliance as well as the retention and expansion of Capitol Records.

‘Jimmy’ wins Mass. contest

The Massachusetts Film Office has announced that writer-actor Victor Warren is the winner of the state’s Fourth Annual Screenwriting Competition for penning “Jimmy.”

Set in South Yarmouth, Mass., the screenplay is the story of a young boy’s friendship with a ghost and calls for a number of special effects.

As the contest winner, Warren will receive roundtrip airfare to Los Angeles, two days of accommodations and assistance from MFO officials to schedule meetings with studio and production execs.

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