UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD
Hollywood, CA (Abbreviation: USH)
The NBC Universal Evolution Plan (Formerly known as the Vision Plan):
(2/4/13) A great breakdown of all the proposed changes that Universal has included in the latest version of the NBCUniversal Evolution Plan, dated Jan. 7, 2013 can be found over at InsideUniversal. They break down each building and possible change coming, site by site, according to the new masterplan. The one odd thing is that it looks like the future of the old Wild West stunt show venue is simply to become a quiet “Central Park” green area for now.
(10/1/12) After a few more concessions by Universal, the Los Angeles Planning Commission has given their approval for Universal Studio’s Evolution Plan which will add new hotels, studio support buildings and attractions to the park.
(8/30/12) A Screamscape reader who lives in the area around Universal Studios sent in pictures of a three page letter the studio has sent out to the local area residents to inform them about the latest changes to the “Evolution Plan No Residential Alternative”. I’ve posted them here for everyone to see.
(7/18/12) It appears that sanity has prevailed at Universal Studios Hollywood, as the new owners have decided to take an axe to the entire residential portion of the Evolution Plan in the latest revision. The new map layout released also reveals plans for a new 500-room on-site hotel, new parking structures or possibly even CityWalk expansion buildings going into all of the remaining ground level parking lots. New studio production buildings will be added to the backlot in various locations. It looks like the old lagoon and Parting of the Red Sea effects area will be removed to make way for a new small neighborhood street scene, not unlike the famous neighborhood set further up the hillside. The Europe/Rome street area looks to also be replaced with a new street scene of some kind, and the western area looks like it will be removed and replaced by a pair of production buildings instead. Something new may also take over the War of the Worlds & Psycho House area, but the big lake and Jaws area will remain. However it does appear as if the Mummy / Avalanche tunnel effect tunnel will be removed and replaced by a new drive-through attraction of some kind. The collapsing bridge also looks to survive, and while the Gibson Amphitheater is still seen, there is a new attraction building set up behind it. WaterWorld also looks destined to be replaced by another new attraction building as well. I’m guessing one of these later two areas will become part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Click here to see the new revised map.
(2/3/12) Finally we have some sanity in Hollywood as a County Supervisor has asked NBC Universal to reconsider the entire residential section of the Evolution Plan (formerly known as The Vision Plan). Honestly, I never could understand who was to benefit from this plan in the first place, as it will shrink the theme park, shrink the studio, bring in more residents even closer, who will end up having more voices to complain about the noise levels and fuss going on at Universal’s property. It’s a headache all around in my mind, and I’m hoping that now that Comcast is calling the shots, they may be willing to axe the entire plan.
Of course, just imagine how much of that property could go towards making the Wizarding World even more magical?
(11/12/10) A new update about Universal’s Evolution plan can be found here.
(11/10/10) Universal Hollywood is still pushing ahead with their plans to redevelop a large section of the studio property. Last week the long awaited “City Report” on the proposed project was released, and you can read more about it at the LA Times.
(10/9/09) NBC Universal has updated the old Vision Plan and given it a new name this week… now calling it the NBC Universal Evolution Plan. The $3 billion long-term plan around the Hollywood studio property focuses on upgrading and creating new production facilities, providing office space, bringing a new hotel to the property and continuing to provide vitality to Universal Studios Hollywood theme park and CityWalk.
Studio plans include adding 308,000 square-feet or new production facilities, representing both new and relocated outdoor sets, sound stages, producer bungalows, a screening theater, a rehearsal hall and a film vault. Another 437,000 square-feet of production and post-production space is also planned along with 495,000 sq-ft of new modern office space, including a new Child Care Center and improved parking.
The plans for the theme park and CityWalk include 146,000 sq-ft of attractions space at Universal Studios Hollywood and 39,000 sq-ft feet of retail/dining space at CityWalk. There is also a possible plan to replace the current amphitheater with a smaller venue to make room for a new 500-room on-site hotel at CityWalk. Be sure to check out the new official Evolution Plan website too. Compare the map on the wrong of the Evolution page to the old map we still have posted from the Vision Plan and there are lots of small differences here and there in the size and shape of some of the buildings in the backlot.
(2/2/07) We have a brief update about the proposed Vision Plan project taken from a meeting Universal had with the Hollywood Hills residents. First off, it seems that the Vision Plan is a 25 year plan... so none of these changes will happen overnight. In the meeting they mainly touched on four points:
The expansion of their production facilities and office space on the northern end of their property.
The expansion of Citywalk will see a new 3000 seat theater that could be used for a resident Cirque show but I’m going to guess Blue Man Group is an option too.
Refreshing of the Theme Park itself where the plan is to remove and replace older attractions with newer ones every five years or so, but the message here was no new growth of the park. Waterworld was one attraction mentioned by name as a likely future candidate to be replaced.
The new residential area would add 2936 new homes, apartments and 10 story complex buildings to areas currently housing several backlot sets: War of the Worlds, Wysteria Lane and the blue screen lake. There is concern over this last point as to how much impact all these new residents will have on the already horrible traffic in the area.
(12/12/06- UPDATED) While there has been a lot of buzz over the proposed Vision Plan that will trim nearly 125 acres from the famous Universal Studios backlot, no one seemed entirely sure about what was being removed. One of our readers was able to send in the map artwork from the proposed Vision Plan that finally gives us a clear "vision" about what they have planned. After comparing that image to satellite images of the area, it seems suddenly clear that Universal is planning on removing much more than just the Psycho house and Wars of the Worlds disaster set.
As near as I can tell, going from my own memory of the park’s layout, other major items set to be demolished include the Mummy effects tunnel (formerly: Dante’s Peak and Avalanche Tunnel), the big lake with the giant skyline backdrop used in countless films, the entire Jaws cove area used in dozens of TV shows, the entire set of neighborhood homes used in several films and TV series ranging from Leave It To Beaver, The Munsters, The Burbs, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Desperate Housewives and many more. Then we have not only the entire set of European city streets used in various projects, but the large open roman era looking set nearby. Forgive me if I used an incorrect names for these sets or got a few of the films/tv series names wrong... I’m not a USH Tour Guide... I’m just going from my own memories from past visits and the last time I went to USH was back in 2000. In anycase, I’ve added not only the Vision Plan and Satellite images of the park, but I’ve tweaked the Sat images to show off the large area to be impacted by the proposed Universal Village residential area as well as highlighting what attractions are in the demolition zone. After they go through with this plan, I can see the backlot tram tour taking only about half the time it currently takes.
One more item of note, if you go back to the Vision Plan image... there are three or four new large buildings placed behind the current parking structures on whatever bits of open land they had left to be used as ground level parking. I’m not sure if these are supposed to be new parking structures or if they are to become new sections of CityWalk.
UPDATE - A few more things have been noted. If you look at the artwork map it appears that the Psycho House and Bates Motel will be moved to the hillside above the current Jaws attraction (Amity Island / Cabot Cove) area. We’ve also been told that the plan is to move / rebuild the Colonial Street residential houses on the site where the parting of the Red Seas currently takes place. In fact, if you look at the artwork that whole lake area known for the parting of the Red Seas, the new King Kong “bigatures”, the old sea mine attack, navy ships, and so on will be completely replaced. Of course it’s interesting that the old Collapsing Bridge that they never use anymore is still there on the map. Meanwhile a look at the Upper Lot shows that the Waterworld stadium is going to be replaced by some kind of large building and it looks like they will turn the Wild West Stadium into just open landscaping.
(12/8/06) While I have yet to see any images of the new Vision Plan for Universal Studios Hollywood, it seems that the plan will call for Norman Bates famous Psycho House and the Bates Motel to be removed to make way for the 124 acre Universal Village residential project. Other famous studio tour icons that would be placed in front of the bulldozers would be the War of the Worlds disaster scene, Colonial Street and European Street. The Universal Village project would replace all these with 2,900 new apartments, lofts and town-homes, as well as 35 acres of hiking trails and parks that I assume will be the buffer area between it and the studios. If it seems like the development plan is a little lopsided, it is. While Universal seems happy to give up nearly 125 acres of their studio backlot property that is closest to the more vocal and troublesome neighbors on the hillside, the reported 80,000 square foot expansion of the theme park itself translates to a pathetic 1.83 acres. As a direct comparison, Splash Mountain at Disneyland is said to take up 2.3 acres of space by itself.
A final thought about the Universal Village site... this article raises one great question. Whoever gets to build a new home on the site of the former Psycho house, will they ever take showers?
(12/7/06) According to this local news report, Universal unveiled a few details in their new 25 year masterplan for the Universal Studios Hollywood location. Highlights of the plan include an 80,000 square-foot expansion of the theme park area, new high tech soundstages for the studio and a planned residential community called Universal Village. The plan is to sell off about 124 acres of mostly unused property to a builder for the residential community. There is also talk about the removal of a few soundstages and the need to move a few sets while new state of the art facilities are constructed. The plan will allow the theme park section to grow at last without the need to remove older attraction, though there is a plan to completely revamp the studio tram tour as well. At this point don’t expect to see any major construction on these plans for another 2-3 years.