Warner Bros. has unveiled a major expansion plan, adding two Frank Gehry-designed office buildings adjacent to its main lot in the Burbank Media District.
The studio will also purchase a portion of the Burbank Studios, formerly known as NBC Studios, and be the sole and long-term tenant of the two buildings. Worthe Real Estate Group and its partner Stockbridge Real Estate Fund will develop.
Warner Bros.’ design and construction phases will be called the Second Century Project in recognition of Warner Bros.’ 100th anniversary in 2023. The announcement was made Monday by Kim Williams, executive VP and chief financial officer; Jeff Worthe, president of Worthe Real Estate Group; and by Gehry of Gehry Partners.
“This is an opportunity to reimagine not only our workspace but our future,” said Williams. “Along with our historic lot, the newly expanded campus will fuel increased creativity, facilitate collaboration, and help us attract and retain the world’s best and most diverse talent.”
“It will also better position our company for the future and provide for more production capacity,” Williams added. “This is an investment in our employees, our creative and business partners, and the Burbank community that will continue to be our home for decades to come.”
Worthe said, “We are proud to continue our longstanding partnership with Warner Bros. which dates back over 30 years. We are thrilled to deliver these iconic buildings to Burbank and can’t think of a better way to honor Warner’s past 100 years and celebrate their exciting future.”
Gehry said the design for the project is aimed at recapture the feeling of old Hollywood splendor with large open floors.
“From the freeway, the buildings are composed as one long sculptural glass façade that creates a single identity like icebergs floating along the freeway,” he added. “On the studio side, the metal punched façade is terraced to relate to the scale and character of the existing studio buildings.”
The 800,000-square-foot office building complex will consist of a seven-story building of approximately 355,000 square feet and a nine-story building of approximately 445,000 square feet. Groundbreaking is expected to take place in the fall of 2019, with construction expected to be completed by 2023.
As part of this transaction, Warner Bros. will purchase the Burbank Studios property, exclusive of the land on which the two Gehry buildings are to be built (which will be owned by Worthe Real Estate Group and Stockbridge). The Burbank Studios, which is home to “Days of Our Live” and was the longtime home for “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno hosting, gives Warner Bros. additional production office space and eight soundstages (with room for expansion).
Also as part of this deal, Worthe Real Estate Group and Stockbridge will purchase three office buildings currently owned by Warner Bros. — the Triangle Building, Glass Building and Wood Building — as well as the 30-acre Warner Bros. Ranch on Hollywood Way. The sale of the three buildings is targeted to take place in late 2019, with Warner Bros. then leasing the space back from Worthe/Stockbridge until those employees are moved to the new office space.
The sales of the Ranch property and Warner Bros.’ purchase of The Burbank Studios are expected to take place in 2023.