DreamWorks Withdraws From Project
Jul. 02, 1999
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ After nearly four years of planning, DreamWorks SKG has pulled out of a controversial project to build a film studio near sensitive wetlands, citing changes in financial plans.
The $200 million studio was considered a key portion of the $8 billion, 1,000-acre Playa Vista development, an industrial and residential project near the Los Angeles International Airport.
But higher interest rates and construction costs made the deal less attractive than when DreamWorks owners Steven Spielberg, former Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and record mogul David Geffen first considered the plan in late 1995, the company said Thursday.
The project is to include 600,000 square feet of retail stores, more than 13,000 townhouses and condominiums and more than 500 acres devoted to wetlands and parks.
Playa Vista has attracted numerous lawsuits by environmentalists, who claim the area along Ballona Creek is home to endangered species. The developers say no endangered species have been seen there for years.
In a statement, Katzenberg said Playa Vista was ``no longer in DreamWorks' best interest. It simply was not meant to be.''
Spielberg said he was ``committed first and foremost to doing what is best for our company.'' DreamWorks is ``exploring other options for our permanent home,'' he said.
Playa Vista President Peter Denniston said developers were ``disappointed'' by DreamWorks' decision, but said the 47-acre parcel represented only 4 percent of the project.
Still, other prospective tenants have avoided making a commitment pending DreamWorks' decision.