Calling itself the largest independent movie studio in the US, a $125 million facility intends to break ground in April, 2009, in Moorpark, California.
When completed following its projected 18-month construction period, Commonwealth Studios, as it will be known, will have 14 soundstages and an exterior backlot that will feature city and residential streets, plumbed for rain and fire effects.
The 37-acre project is designed to ease what its developers call “the acute soundstage shortage in Southern California.” It will be located in the City of Moorpark on Highway 118, several miles to the northwest of Hollywood.
Two entertainment industry veterans are behind the project. Commonwealth Studios chairman and CEO Bernard Weitzman has held executive positions at several major studios. He was executive VP at Desilu and Lorimar Pictures, VP at Universal Studios and held senior positions at MGM. He currently has his own management company, Sussex Ltd., Inc. President and COO John Marshall is an independent producer with 32 years experience in the industry.
Commonwealth Studios will be the largest entirely new studio to be built in California since the 1930s. It will be about the same size as CBS Studio Center in Studio City and is slated to be able to handle film and digital movies, television shows and commercials. It will be bounded to the north by the Southern Pacific Railroad, by an SCE power station to the east and by Los Angeles Avenue to the south.
The soundstages will range in size from 9,600 to 20,000 square feet and will be grouped in sets of two with a 60-foot-wide area between them. At ground level this area will have two rows of built-in deluxe dressing rooms, wardrobe/makeup areas, and direct stage access. Above the dressing rooms and adjoining tunnel area, spanning the entire 60 feet between the stages and the length of the stages will be production office space. Office buildings, commissary, health club, conference center, pool and spa, and a screening theater are also planned.
Commonwealth is currently in discussion with major studios and independent producers regarding advance commitments. The facility will be built by Triliad Development.