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Santa Clarita: Home to Disney’s Movie Ranch

Posted: September 2, 2014 11:00 a.m.
Updated: September 2, 2014 6:32 p.m.
Downtown street built by Disney at their Disney Golden Oak movie ranch. ABC/Disney courtesy photo Downtown street built by Disney at their Disney Golden Oak movie ranch. ABC/Disney courtesy photo
Downtown street built by Disney at their Disney Golden Oak movie ranch. ABC/Disney courtesy photo

Back when Walt Disney founded California Institute of the Arts and the Disney movie ranch in Santa Clarita, few would have predicted how successful the filming industry would become locally. When the two entities were founded more than five decades ago, Santa Clarita was mostly a sleepy backwoods rural area in Los Angeles County.

Today Santa Clarita is the third largest city in Los Angeles County, the region home to more than a quarter-million residents, and it’s located only some 35 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, flanked by two major transportation corridors including the I-5 freeway.

Nestled in the Valley sits Disney’s Golden Oak movie ranch in Placerita Canyon. The movie ranch is slated to build state-of-the-art sounds stages and hundreds of thousands of square feet in structures to support the growing film industry.

When built out, the only thing ranch-like about the compound will be the surrounding open land of which Disney has dedicated hundreds of acres to preserve. Already an active filming location for ABC Studios and Disney, Golden Oak Ranch has residential neighborhoods and commercial districts built that have accommodated filming. The sound stages and production offices will complement productions, attracting an increase in filming at the ranch.

Approved for construction by L.A. County Supervisors, the new sound stages and structures are expected to occupy only some 58 acres of the 890-acre movie ranch. Disney declined to say which option it is considering.

“It’s my understanding that Disney is still working internally on which of the two plans they’re going to work on; move forward on,” said Edel Vizcarra, planning deputy for Los Angeles County.

Much of the building will occur on construction pads left over the construction of Highway 14 in the 1970s, Adam Gilbert, director of corporate real estate for Disney, said at the time the project was approved.

The project was approved to build one of two plans - 555,950 square feet of structures with 12 sound stages, or 510,000 square feet of structures with eight sound stages.

Experts say the full-service Disney movie ranch will be an economic boon for an area in which the city of Santa Clarita has already beat its own film activity records for four consecutive years.

The finished movie ranch is expected to create 2,854 full and part time jobs and generate $533 million in annual economic activity. It is also expected to generate $1.3 million in new annual revenues for Los Angeles County and $26 million in new annual revenues to the state of California.


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