Disney to Build New Production Facility at Golden Oak Ranch

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – The Walt Disney Co. plans to build a 12-stage production facility at its Golden Oak Ranch in the Santa Clarita Valley, northwest of Los Angeles, primarily to serve the production needs of ABC Studios.

Disney and ABC Studios have filed applications with Los Angeles County for Disney/ABC Studios at the Ranch, a high-tech soundstage and production facility. The facility, which would include six pairs of soundstages, would take up 56 acres in the western tip of the 890-acre Gold Oak Ranch.

Disney has only two soundstage facilities, one on the Disney lot, which has virtually no usable outdoor space, and one at its Prospect Studios.

As a result, ABC Studios’ 14 locally produced series are spread over nine facilities.

When the Ranch facility is built, it could accommodate about four established and as many as six freshman shows, said ABC Studios executive director production Richard Ballering.

The “synergy of indoor and outdoor production” was the main draw at Golden Ranch, which would still have 195 acres for outdoor filming and movie ranch space after construction is completed, Ballering said.

He declined comment on the size of the company’s investment in the ranch. According to figures released by ABC Studios, the project is expected to generate 3,152 new jobs and $522 million in economic activity during construction and 2,854 full and part-time jobs and $533 million in annual economic activity.

There is no official launch date for the facility, but Disney is looking as a possible 2013 construction start date.

The Walt Disney Co. purchased the Gold Oak Ranch in 1959 to use for outdoor filming. It originally was used primarily for Westerns, gradually expanding to a wide range of feature, TV and commercial productions.

Some of the films and series shot on the premises include “Old Yeller,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Independence Day” and the two “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequels as well as “Lassie,” “Bonanza,” “The X-Files,” “CSI” and “Entourage.”

(Written by Nellie Andreeva, Editing by SheriLinden at Reuters)

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