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Warner Bros. Sale Leaseback of the Burbank Ranch Now Official

Worthe Real Estate Group (Worthe) and San Francisco-based investment firm Stockbridge have closed a leaseback deal with Warner Bros. (Warner), as part of a redevelopment that is planned on the historic North Hollywood Way lot, also known as the Ranch.

As part of the land swap deal that was first announced in 2019, the Worthe and Stockbridge partnership will acquire the Ranch Lot, while Warner Bros. becomes the sole long-term tenant of the nearby Second Century campus — an 800,000-square-foot office complex currently owned and being built by Worthe and Stockbridge. Warner will also purchase the remaining portion of The Burbank Studios campus, which is situated adjacent to the Second Century development.

With this redevelopment project, Worthe plans to create an entirely new landscape on the Ranch. Notably, the new and improved lot will include a multi-level parking structure; a commissary; 16 sound stages with connected production support space; dedicated set- and prop-building space; and a complex incorporating 320,000 square feet of new Burbank office space. Upon completion, it will provide a total of 56 sound stages to support Warner’s Los Angeles-based production activity.

“We are very pleased to further our ongoing relationship with Jeff Worthe and his outstanding team,” said Jeff Nagler, president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Studio Operations, in a prepared statement, “and we’re excited for this opportunity to utilize the best-in-class Ranch property that the Worthe Group is creating over the next few years. Continuing to enhance our state-of-the-art studios and full-service offerings for our productions and partners is a key priority for our company, and the new Ranch Lot development will certainly fulfill this goal in the Los Angeles area.”

Warner Bros’ Second Century Commencement

The completion of the aforementioned land swap deal is scheduled for 2023, which coincides with the media company’s 100th anniversary and has all the makings of a high-profile milestone celebration. For instance, previous reporting by the Los Angeles Times estimated the development to be one of Burbank’s largest and most complex real estate transactions of all time, with an estimated combined value of more than $1 billion.

The company’s Burbank headquarters expansion includes moving into two new office towers that are aptly nicknamed Second Century Project. Designed by Frank Gehry, developed by Worth and built by the Krismar Construction Company, the office complex is already taking shape along the 134 Freeway. And, since breaking ground in early 2020, the property’s distinct profile is already becoming apparent.

Drawing inspiration from a time when Hollywood Studios’ architecture created occupiable monuments to movie making, Gehry sought to “recapture that feeling of old Hollywood splendor” through this project. Indeed, the seven- and nine-story mid-rise office towers are designed to appear as icebergs floating along the freeway, or perhaps as ice cubes clinking in a celebratory glass of roaring 20s gin rickey.

“This is an opportunity to reimagine not only our workspace, but our future,” said Kim Williams, Warner Bros. executive vice president and chief financial officer, of the centennial celebration office project. “It will also better position our company for the future and provide for more production capacity.”

Jeff Worthe, president of Worthe Real Estate Group, added, “We are proud to continue our longstanding partnership with Warner Bros., which dates back over 30 years. We are thrilled to deliver these iconic buildings to Burbank and can’t think of a better way to honor Warner’s past 100 years and celebrate their exciting future.”

“We are thrilled that Warner Bros.’ long-term plan includes an exciting new vision for their campus in Burbank,” former Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy said in a statement. “This commitment further reinforces our city’s standing as the Media Capital of the World.”

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