The Southern California Development Forum (SCDF) is an organization that brings together a community of real estate leaders on the latest trends, strategies and projects, while also providing networking opportunities. The organization hosted a panel discussion on Oct. 18, 2022, to discuss the driving tenant lease demand for studio and entertainment real estate in Los Angeles in a post-pandemic world.
Trevor Shulters, a regional director for cost management with the Cumming Group, served as the moderator for panelists John Wiedner, principal of Gensler; David Malmuth, president of David Malmuth, LLC; Amy Pokawatana, vice president of development design for Hudson Pacific Properties, and Brooke Edwards, a director with Cushman & Wakefield.
Amenities for New or Renovated Movie and Television Studios
Amenities are crucial for effective studio spaces says Pokawatana at Hudson Pacific Properties. Her latest project in the U.K. includes a fitness center and a nursery which makes it easier for those who work at the studio lot that operates 24 hours a day.
“Being able to provide them with a place to eat, daycare services and other options is something that we are thinking long and hard about,” explains Pokawatana. “Our thought process is how to do as much as we can so that it is beneficial for all types of tenants.”
Wiedner with Gensler says developers and studio professionals are also looking outside the walls of the studios and focusing on the local neighborhood and what kind of projects can be supported.
Types of Studio Tenants
Edwards of Cushman & Wakefield is seeing an influx into the studio market because of streaming services. Tenants now range from Warner Bros., which has been in the industry for years, to Amazon Studios and Netflix which are trying to make their mark and pick up big pieces of space, she says.
Evolving Technology In Studio Spaces
Technology itself has changed dramatically in the last three years, which in turn impacts development, adds Wiedner. Evolutions to the studio business in film and TV production include LED walls, and there is also a big push to provide an infrastructure that is flexible and sustainable.
“We are looking at sustainability as a big asset,” says Wiedner. “Recycling programs and electrification systems are all really important aspects.”
Pokawatana says lighting and acoustics are traditional assets of a soundstage while elevators, a secondary structural system or electrical needs for virtual uses are additional assets.
Malmuth of David Malmuth works on traditional soundstages that have been adapted to a new environment. For instance, he has adapted the Paramount soundstage by compressing the large space, which has been in use for over 100 years, into a much smaller space.
Advice for Industry Professionals
Malmuth says you have to create something in the market that delivers a superior user experience at a price that makes sense. “We are trying to match all of those capabilities together into something that is really extraordinary because that is how you will be successful."
In conclusion, studio and entertainment real estate need as many amenities as possible to serve a variety of clients. Technology and sustainability are also key to the evolution of the studio business.
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