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Disney plans for a new production studio

October 29, 2009 12:56:51 AM PDT
Good news came to Disney Thursday as the company announced plans to build a sprawling production complex in the Santa Clarita Valley. The plans call for the Disney/ABC studios to be built on 56 acres of Disney's Golden Oak Ranch property, off the 14 freeway. Not only is the big news good for Disney but also for the Southern California economy.

A sketch shows the full breath of Disney's 56 acre master plan, equipped with a dozen sound stages, production offices, talent bungalows, a commissary and other amenities. For Disney, it's all about creating a lot more room to produce film, television commercial and new media projects.

"The key benefit is us being able to place between four established shows to as many as six freshman shows on one site, leveraging the advantages of combining indoor and outdoor production," explained Richard Ballering, ABC Studios Executive Director of Production.

The proposed facility would be built at the Disney owned Golden Oak Ranch, a massive 890 acre expanse just off the 14 freeway in the Santa Clarita Valley.

A host of scenes from TV shows and movies have been shot on the ranch such as Little House on the Prairie, Bonanza, the Parent Trap, Pirates of the Caribbean and even Old Yeller.

With Hollywood's entertainment machine losing to other states that are offering film tax credits causing an exodus for film and TV jobs, Santa Clarita officials say it was about time California lawmakers stepped in line offering the state's own version of tax credit this year.

"The city of Santa Clarita has its own film tax credit program so it makes it very attractive for companies to come here," said Santa Clarita spokesperson Gail Ortiz. "You cannot imagine how many shows and how many movies have been filmed in the Santa Clarita Valley."

The proposed Disney project would be a boost to the lagging local economy and a stagnant job market creating nearly 3,000 jobs and generating a $522 million economic impact to the region.

"To see Disney/ABC investing in a project like this, it's huge not only for Santa Clarita Valley but for all of Los Angeles," said Jason Crawford, City of Santa Clarita.

"I think it's great they're putting it here in Santa Clarita and opening some jobs here would be nice, save people from the commute," said Santa Clarita resident Rachel Bratcher.

L.A. County officials are already studying the project. Some see it as a win-win if approved . The new studio is not expected to be completed for at least another three years.

Disney is the parent company of ABC 7.

Associated Press contributed to this report.


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