Planning Commission to take first look at studio plan 

Erika Iverson, right, associate planner for the city of Santa Clarita, goes over the plans for the 93.5-acre, Shadowbox Studios project site located near the corner of Railroad Avenue and 13th Street in Newhall on Tuesday, 022123. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Santa Clarita Planning Commission has just one item on its agenda for Tuesday’s meeting.  

But it’s a big one. 

The Shadowbox Studios project is looking to transform 93.5 acres near the entrance of Placerita Canyon into a full-service film and television studio, according to city planning documents, which spell out some of the various features. 

At next week’s hearing for the project, the commission won’t be making a recommendation one way or the other, according to city officials — it’s another step in the city’s review process. 

The city gave the Planning Commission a tour of the site in February. 

“Tuesday night, we have the first of a series of Planning Commission meetings to discuss the Shadowbox Studios proposed project,” according to a message sent via text by Jason Crawford, director of community development for Santa Clarita. “There won’t be any decisions made on it yet, but we will be looking at the full details of what is being proposed and the impacts, benefits and hearing from the community and from the (Planning) Commission what their questions and thoughts are.” 

During the formal introduction of the project, there will also be a review of the environmental impact report commissioned by the project’s developer, and how those potential impacts could be mitigated. 

The meeting will also be a chance for the commission and the public to ask questions about the scope of the project. The city staff would then respond to those questions and comments at a future hearing, and then make a recommendation to the Planning Commission. The commission would then decide on whether to recommend the project after its review is complete. That recommendation would be then forwarded to City Council, which will have final say on the project. 

The plans call for: 475,500 square feet of sound stages; workshops, warehouses and support uses that will cover about 565,400 square feet; approximately 209,300 square feet of production space; and approximately 35,600 square feet of catering and other specialty services — an overall building area of approximately 1,285,000 square feet. (For reference, the Lakers’ home arena, the Arena, is approximately 950,000 square feet.) 

The city’s Planning Division has a page set up to share information about the project and its proposed impacts:   

And now officials will take their initial look at the environmental impact involved in the development, as well as any means the developer can use to lessen those impacts.  

Jeff Weber, who represents the project’s applicant, Shadowbox Studios, noted the industry demand for such space is growing, and the company saw Santa Clarita as a perfect location to add a campus that would accommodate that need. 

“We believe that this is a truly exciting opportunity for both Shadowbox Studios and the city of Santa Clarita,” Weber wrote in a previous statement shared with The Signal. “Our proposed studio campus is designed to meet the growing need for sound stages and to add to the rich fabric of Newhall’s filmmaking heritage.”  

If approved, the main campus would include 19 sound stages, a large support building, a parking structure, an office building, a catering building and a mechanical building south of Placerita Creek. 

And to accommodate all of the vehicles coming and going, the project is also expected to include a five-level (four above ground), 1,072-space parking structure at the northeastern corner of 13th and Railroad avenues. There would also be about 455 surface-level spots and a 1,757-space employee parking lot on the north side of the creek. 

The project also mentions a number of additions for the area, which include a multipurpose path along the project’s frontage alongside 12th, Arch and 13th streets, as well as off-site improvements, such as a widening of 12th, 13th and Arch streets, the widening of the crossing at 13th Street, and a pedestrian and bike bridge from the Newhall Metrolink Station on Railroad to the future extension of Dockweiler Drive. 

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