Stage 2 is the original stage for the I Love Lucy show.

Stage 2 – Original stage for I Love Lucy

Founded in 1919, the former Hollywood Center Studios is one of the oldest production facilities in Hollywood. Hudson Pacific Properties bought and renamed the 15-acre creative media production campus to Sunset Las Palmas Studios in 2017, and it became part of the Sunset Gower and Sunset Bronson Studios family. Structural Focus has been providing structural engineering services to the family of studios for several years. Most recently, Structural Focus joined Bastien & Associates Architects in the renovation of the KTLA Channel 5 facilities located in Sunset Bronson Studios.

Today, Sunset Las Palmas Studios includes 13 soundstages and a variety of production offices and editing suites, as well as many other resources, services and amenities totaling 369,000 square feet. The studio houses several Disney Channel and Comedy Central productions. According to the LA Times, Hudson Pacific plans a major expansion on the lot including offices, parking, and infrastructure valued at more than $50 million. As the acquisition of Sunset Las Palmas was finalized, Hudson Pacific Properties contracted Structural Focus to take an overall structural view and help prioritize the renovation of the campus.

The assistance of a structural engineer is always encouraged when dealing with older buildings slated for renovation or adaptive reuse. A campus-wide structural survey provides an in-depth understanding of all the buildings’ existing structural conditions. When dealing with an inventory of older structures, there is a strong likelihood that there will be surprises including structural deficiencies that will make renovations more complicated and possibly costly. In addition, the survey can help to quantify the amount of seismic risk to the owner. As part of the survey, the structural issues and the recommended mitigation steps are prioritized. With this information, an informed owner can formulate an improved strategy for future renovations and investments.

The 51 buildings on the Sunset Las Palmas Studios lot including office buildings, stages, and parking structures were evaluated by the Structural Focus team to identify potential structural deficiencies, provide general information about the structures and the expected seismic performance, and help to prioritize future improvements. As part of the campus evaluation, the team performed the following tasks:

  1. Gathered and reviewed available information about the buildings including original and renovation construction documents as well as any previous evaluation reports.
  2. Performed site visits to walk through each building.
  3. Performed a rapid seismic evaluation of all at-risk buildings.
  4. Generated a list of all buildings with key structural characteristics to be considered during the planning process including size, approximate age, number of stories, etc. plus each building’s estimated seismic risk.
  5. Provided general comments about each building and general recommendations for follow-up actions related to structural issues.  
  6. For at-risk buildings, followed up will include a more detailed seismic evaluation and formulated a list of prioritized seismic mitigation recommendations.
  7. Working with the owner, prioritized the buildings based on seismic and/or structural risk.   
  8. Participated in follow-up conferences regarding our findings and next steps.

Based on the recommendations provided by the Structural Focus team, renovations and seismic retrofits have begun on several of the buildings in addition to an update of mechanical systems on several large stages. The team is also working on the design of a new commissary area and data center.