Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

Studio building taking shape

Paul Clinton

RANCHO DISTRICT -- There’s something stirring at Disney.

Looming high over the westbound lanes of the Ventura (134) Freeway, a

new 10-story building is taking shape that by this time next next year is


scheduled to be the new home for hundreds of employees of Disney and the

ABC television network.

But while Disney’s new building will tower over all other structures

on the studio lot, it will not be built with the same whimsical


architectural style that distinguishes many of the other buildings at

Disney, studio officials said.

The architecture will be more basic and functional, said David

Gensemer, the director of development at Walt Disney Imagineering.

Designed by architect Aldo Rossi, who died shortly after completing

final work about a year ago, the plaster-and-glass building will resemble

a cluster of mini-skyscrapers.

“It’s designed to essentially look like three buildings,” Gensemer



Gensemer said the 390,000-square-foot building at the corner of

Riverside Drive and Buena Vista Street will accommodate a mix of Disney


Most notably, the building will headquarter the ABC television

network, currently based in New York. Disney purchased ABC in 1995.

Although a city advisory committee made up of Rancho District

residents had expressed concerns that the building’s construction would


clog area streets with trucks and exacerbate traffic congestion, a member

of that committee said Friday that the neighborhood’s worst fears have

not been realized.

“We had a few concerns initially, but they have resolved them,” said

Doug Carlson, chairman of the Rancho Providencia Citizens Advisory

Committee. “What’s worked better on this one is there haven’t been a lot

of the construction vehicles on the streets.”

In addition to ABC, the building will include other Disney businesses.

The studio, which declined to disclose how much the building will cost,

has not decided how it will divide the the space between the different


The building will have five levels of underground parking and a

commissary. Plans also call for a steel-and-concrete sky bridge across

Riverside Drive that will connect the building to the studio lot.

Gensemer said the bridge will ease foot traffic across Riverside.

The project broke ground in the fall of 1998, six years after the city

approved Disney’s expansions plans calling for a total of 1.81-million

square feet of studio and office space on the 51-acre lot. Since then,

Disney has built an animation building and additional production

facilities. About 35% of the new space, or 632,600 square feet, has been

completed so far, city records show.