Downey Studios still open

DOWNEY - Downey Studios will remain open even if Tesla Motors opens a vehicle production facility at the former NASA site, city officials said last week.Tesla is in negotiations with property owner Industrial Realty Group to lease 51 acres for a production facility for its Model S electric car. The Downey Patriot reported on March 19 that the Downey Planning Commission approved an IRG application last month that sought to subdivide the land to suit Tesla's needs. "[With] Tesla Motors leasing the lion's share of the studio site, Downey Studios will more than likely shutter their operations," Brian Saeki, community development director for the city, wrote in an accompanying staff report. "Closing the studios will in turn open up Parcel 3 [approximately 14 1/2 acres] for redevelopment." However, the city issued a news release afterwards that rebuked the claim. "Downey Studios is open for business and remains one of the top production facilities in the region," the statement read. "Although future plans for a portion of the site have topped the news in recent months, the studio is open and will remain open even after the new tenant arrives. "In fact, the well-known suburban street [production set] is not included in the new tenant's plans and will remain open until that portion of the site is redeveloped." Scott Pomrehn, assistant deputy city manager, called a timeline for possible reuse of Downey Studios "very preliminary." "Even after all the approvals are received and paperwork completed, the timeline includes construction and move-in phases," Pomrehn said. "The studio will ultimately decide when the remaining portions of the studio will close." The suburban street set will remain open even if Downey Studios is redeveloped, Pomrehn added. --Eric Pierce, City Editor

********** Published: April 9, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 51