A group of Hollywood actors and producers are taking on a new role: real estate developer/landlord of the $25-million, eight-story Business Arts Plaza being built on a site bounded by Hollywood Way, Riverside Drive and Olive Street in the heart of the Burbank media district.
Owned and financed by the 53,000-member Screen Actors Guild-Producers Pension Plan, the 154,000-square-foot structure will house the Pension Plan and an affiliated health plan on two floors, with the remaining space to be leased to other firms. Profits from the venture will help pay guild members' retirement benefits.
Designed by the Luckman Partnership, the steel-frame building will be triangular in shape. It will be clad in beige concrete panels and bronze reflective glass. Its two-story entry will front the Riverside-Olive corner. Its ground level will extend to the sidewalks on all three sides with 10,000 square feet of retail space.
Parking for 430 cars will be accommodated in four levels almost entirely under Riverside Drive. Explained Richard M. Hutman, president of Karsten Consultants of Los Angeles:
"Economics of the building required that the full triangular area bounded by the three streets be used for the office structure itself. The best solution to the parking problem was to use the space under Riverside Drive."
To his knowledge, he said, Business Arts Plaza will be the first major building in the West to use space "so extensively under a neighboring major artery for parking." As the owner's representative, Hutman is overseeing the project.
"It took careful planning and clearance from state and local agencies and utility companies to effect the solution," he added.
Riverside Drive has been closed at the site, and a huge excavation now extends the one-block length of what was formerly the street. Riverside will be restored later to traffic use. The building is expected to be completed by Jones Bros. Construction Co. in mid-1986.
When completed, it will have some large, almost column-free offices and about 19,000 square feet of space per floor. It will have security and energy-saving features, including computerized heating and air conditioning with special controls for after-hour and weekend use. It will also have a third-floor, 1,800-square-foot conference center that can be used by tenants for meetings, special events, audio/visual presentations and receptions. Walker Associates Inc. is completing the interior design.
Last week, a ceremony marking the start of construction was held on the steps of Burbank City Hall. Burbank Mayor E. Daniel Remy and Larry J. Kosmont, director of the city's redevelopment agency, handed the deed to rights for the property under Riverside Drive to Richard P. Schonland, vice chairman of the Pension Plan's board of trustees.
Actor Ed Asner, president of the Screen Actors Guild, was also there with J. Nicholas Counter III, representing the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (one of the producers' organizations participating in the Pension Plan).
"The ceremony concludes more than three years of work by the Pension Plan to establish the project and arrive at the best design. We are delighted that producers and actors, via the Pension Plan, will soon be able to share ownership and pride in this building, located in the heart of the entertainment community in Burbank."
The site is just a few blocks from NBC-TV, Burbank and Disney studios and scores of other motion picture, television and recording production firms. Tenants are expected to include attorneys, production companies, accountants, business agents and promotion people who serve the entertainment community. Cushman & Wakefield is handling leasing.