Warner Bros. steps away from $100-million aerial tramway

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Film and TV studio Warner Bros. has backed away from a proposal to construct an aerial tramway to enhance entry to the Hollywood signal, the corporate mentioned Thursday.

Warner Bros. in 2018 instructed Los Angeles metropolis officers it will fund an aerial tramway to take guests to and from the Hollywood signal, ranging from a parking construction subsequent to its Burbank lot.

The trouble, dubbed the Hollywood Skyway, would have value the studio an estimated $100 million. The tramway would have taken guests on a six-minute journey greater than 1 mile up the again of Mt. Lee to a brand new guests middle close to the signal, with pathways to a viewing space.

A advantage of the undertaking would have been to alleviate visitors congestion in surrounding areas from vacationers and guests attempting to get a glimpse of the famed signal. Site visitors issues in residential neighborhoods, resembling Beachwood Canyon, had worsened over time with the rise of photo-sharing apps, ridesharing providers and navigation instruments resembling Waze.

However issues about security and feasibility proved an excessive amount of for the AT&T Inc.-owned film and tv studio, recognized for movie franchises resembling DC superheroes and Harry Potter.

“After exploring the difficult building points, required zoning modifications and protocols needed to guard visitors throughout emergencies, we decided that our focus can be higher positioned on our core enterprise pursuits,” Warner Bros. mentioned in a press release. “We all know there are different options being explored to offer entry to the long-lasting Hollywood signal and tackle neighborhood congestion. We look ahead to seeing these come to fruition for the residents of Los Angeles and the tens of millions of vacationers keen to go to the signal annually.”

Regardless of massive ambitions, the 97-year-old studio confronted main challenges when it got here to placing its plans in movement, in line with an individual accustomed to the matter who was not approved to remark.

For instance, Mt. Lee is a high-fire space in a state the place wildfires burned 4 million acres in 2020. The event would even be susceptible to earthquakes and different pure disasters.

The undertaking would have required the studio to construct right into a mountain. It additionally would’ve wanted two exits to make sure visitor security, and it wasn’t clear whether or not that might be attainable as a result of one of many exits would have been down the mountain’s face.

Different components have been land possession and use, contemplating the placement is adjoining to a well-known cemetery and parkland. The required environmental influence report and feasibility research would have added hurdles as nicely.

Warner Bros.’ company mandate has shifted because it was bought by AT&T as a part of the Dallas cellphone large’s $85-billion Time Warner acquisition in 2018.

AT&T and WarnerMedia (renamed from Time Warner) have targeted a lot of their consideration on constructing HBO Max, the streaming service it launched in Might. A major a part of Warner Bros.’ enterprise is now geared towards producing motion pictures and reveals for the streamer, which is the media large’s precedence.

The tramway undertaking was championed by Jon Gilbert, the Warner Bros. amenities head who retired early final 12 months.

“This requires a daring answer,” Gilbert mentioned on the time. “If we actually wish to make a distinction … it’s obtained to be one thing compelling. Partial options are usually not going to do the trick, and other people will proceed to inundate the neighborhoods.”

Easing entry to the signal may have helped lure extra vacationers to Warner Bros., which in 2015 invested $13 million to construct a brand new set of interactive points of interest on its Burbank lot to improve its chunk of L.A.’s tourism enterprise. Warner Bros.’ well-liked studio tour has been closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The thought of an aerial tram to the Hollywood signal has been floated quite a few instances over time as a means to attract vacationers away from the residential areas and lift income for the town. Mayor Eric Garcetti revived the idea in Might 2017, saying a gondola may come from the Common Studios Hollywood space.

The mayor’s workplace didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

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