NBCUniversal has dropped controversial plans to build thousands of residences on its famous back lot and hopes instead to add movie and television production facilities and expand the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park.
The new $1.6-billion proposal was unveiled Monday just before the release of the final environmental impact report on the company's proposal to improve the sprawling studio and tourist attraction in the San Fernando Valley.
An earlier plan, valued at $3 billion, called for nearly 3,000 apartments and condominiums at the east end of the studio's property; they would have been served by proposed shops and restaurants. Many neighbors were opposed to the housing, and this year Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky called on NBCUniversal to ditch the residential component of its "Evolution Plan."
Housing development would have made economic sense for the company, Universal Studios President Ron Meyer said a meeting with The Times on Monday. Yaroslavsky and Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge, however, "urged us to focus on our core business," Meyer said, "and they are right."
-- Roger Vincent, Los Angeles Times