Friday, January 31, 2014

Mixed-Use Campus Planned at Former LA Times Printing Plant

Just 22 years after it opened, the Los Angeles Times shuttered its San Fernando Valley printing plant due to declining circulation.  The property has lain dormant since 2006, but may soon see new life as a mixed-use development anchored by a toy manufacturer.  MGA Entertainment, maker of the popular Bratz dolls, will relocate its corporate headquarters to the 214,000 square foot building at 20000 Prairie Street.  The adaptive re-use project, designed by Brooks + Scarpa Architects, converts the stuffy printing plant into trendy creative office space.  However, MGA also has ambitious plans for the large surface parking lots surrounding the building.  Envisioning a similar environment to Google's Mountain View campus, MGA intends to sell the majority of the 23.6 acre property to developer(s) who would build mixed-use apartment complexes.  A site plan drawn up by Nadel Architects calls for a trio of four-story residential buildings, combining to create approximately 700 apartment units.  The office and apartment structures would feature 14,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space, with parking mostly located in above-grade garages hidden from street view.  As a nice nod to the neighborhood, the land along the southern perimeter of the property would be transformed into approximately 1.5 acres of park space.  Of course, it's hard to say if this vision can translate into reality (in Chatsworth, of all places).  Still, an internally focused campus still beats the office parks and porn sets warehouses that currently surround the project site.

Brooks + Scarpa Architects' design for MGA Entertainment's Headquarters


  1. Hmm, since the property is zoned MR2-1 “Restricted Light Industrial Zone” and P-1 “Automobile Parking Zone”, a zone change will be needed to allow for multifamily. That won't be easy to obtain. The City is increasingly reluctant to change industrial land to residential since that usually means a loss of space used for good-paying jobs. This property is a little different in that it would convert parking lots but even so, getting multifamily residential in the ares is probably going to be a tough sell. Industrial users are loath to have residential neighbors since those neighbors are likely to complain about early morning noise and traffic.

    1. Yeah, it does seem like an odd place for this type of development. There is a large community of SFHs a few blocks north, but the immediate surroundings are mostly office park with some industrial. I know the city wants to hold on to its remaining industrial land, but are those manufacturing jobs honestly coming back? At the very least, the printing plant would be preserved as office space.

  2. I also just looked and the property is one large parcel. The marketing material says that the Seller will work with the MF buyer on the appropriate "lot line adjustments" but this will require a lot split, a much longer process.