The Universal lot’s Stage One has been dark since O’Brien signed off earlier this year. NBC U announced Thursday that it would remodel the building into a two-story high-definition studio and newsroom housing both operations.
The new KNBC/NBC News facility is set to open in 2012.
New home comes after NBC U scrapped its original plans, announced in 2007, to relocate KNBC and its NBC News L.A. operations to a brand new property across the street from Universal Studios.
Thomas Properties is developing that site, dubbed “Metro Studio @ Lankershim,” a 650,000-square-foot project located on Lankershim Blvd. where an MTA Red Line subway stop and a parking lot stand.
But that new complex, originally targeted to open in 2011, was delayed by entitlements and other issues (local homeowners raised a fuss over traffic concerns, for example.)
According to a Thomas spokesperson, Metro Studio @ Lankershim is still in the works, and is now targeted to open at the end of 2016 or early 2017.
NBC U is still expected to be a major tenant at that time — and KNBC is still said to possibly make another move then. But for now, 2016/2017 is too far away for the station, which needs a new coat of paint now.
Hence this new plan, actually located inside the Universal lot. Move ends KNBC’s nearly 50-year run in Burbank.
NBC U sold its longtime Burbank lot in 2008 to M. David Paul/Worthe Real Estate Group; since then, it has leased back much of the facility. Besides KNBC and NBC News’ L.A. bureau, the lot continues to be the home of KVEA/KWHY; “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and the NBC Agency, among other divisions. NBC Entertainment moved to the Universal lot a few years ago.
KNBC and NBC News’ Los Angeles have had to contend for years with an older, ratty studio and newsroom — while competitors KABC and KCBS/KCAL have moved into brand-new, technologically advanced facilities over the past decade.
“The Universal facility will be top-notch — consisting of the best technology, infrastructure and people in the business,” said NBC News prexy Steve Capus.
Besides the 60,000 square foot facility, NBC U will also retrofit a five-story office building to house KNBC and NBC News tech support and executive offices.
More details here.