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Columbia Square closes Friday

CBS newscast ends era in local TV

After almost 70 years, Hollywood’s Columbia Square facilities will cease to exist as a broadcasting facility after Friday’s 11 p.m. KCBS newscast.

KCBS and KCAL officially move to their new home at the CBS Studio Center in Studio City on Saturday, and will simultaneously begin broadcasting their newscasts in high definition. KCBS anchor Paul Magers will end his newscast Friday with a send-off to Columbia Square, which will fall silent after that.

The new digs will formally open next Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony set to be attended by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and CBS honcho Leslie Moonves, among other luminaries. KCBS and KCAL will also unveil the bronze plaque that will christen the “Jerry Dunphy Newsroom,” named in honor of the legendary L.A. anchor who passed away in 2002.

The departure of KCBS and KCAL reps the end of an era for Columbia Square, which was opened in 1938 to house CBS’ Los Angeles flagship radio station, KNX-AM — as well as CBS’ (then still known as the Columbia Broadcasting System) West Coast operations.

The building originally included a restaurant and large auditoriums, where radio and music stars such as Jack Benny, Edgar Bergen, Bing Crosby and Burns & Allen performed. Columbia Square was located down the street.

KCAL joined KCBS at Columbia Square when the two operations merged earlier this decade; KNX moved to new Miracle Mile facilities in 2005, leaving the two TV stations behind.

Now, with KCBS and KCAL departing for Studio City, just KTLA remains broadcasting in Hollywood. Just 10 years ago, KABC, KCBS, KCAL, KTLA, KTTV and KCOP were all Hollywood-based.

CBS sold Columbia Square, designed by architect William Lescaze, in 2003; developer Molasky Pacific acquired the property for $66 million last August.

Molasky Pacific unveiled plans last month to renovate the Columbia Square building while adding two new high-rise structures that will include office and retail space, live-work lofts, multi-family units and a 125-room hotel.

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