Playa stops work, will meet with city

DreamWorks facility on hold again

The developer of DreamWorks’ proposed new studio suspended grading Thursday on the site near Los Angeles Intl. Airport until there is resolution of a dispute over which areas have been permitted for construction work.

Playa Capital Co.’s decision to halt work on the development was the latest wrinkle in the consortium’s efforts to build the Playa Vista project, which has been beset by legal battles with environmentalists and public spats with DreamWorks.

The developer plans to meet today with city officials to iron out “the scope of the permits that we have,” said Playa spokesman David Herbst.

Valenti speaks out

Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, added his voice Thursday to those of California state and local officials calling for the developer to come to terms with DreamWorks.

Valenti, reached in Paris, expressed concern that Playa Capital’s plan to retain ownership of a large portion of the Entertainment, Media & Technology campus — in effect sharing the backlot with DreamWorks — is unworkable.

“A studio, with its commitment of investment capital, has longer endurance and will provide better jobs than a company that’s just building soundstages to rent out and is not going to occupy them itself,” Valenti said.

DreamWorks insists it must own all the soundstages. Without such control, DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg has warned, he and his partners will find a home elsewhere.

Herbst, the developer’s spokesman, sounded reassuring. “We want to have an anchor at the studio campus at Playa Vista, and we are working diligently to make sure the anchor tenant is DreamWorks,” he said.

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