A planned office and studio development between NBC Universal and Thomas Properties Group Inc. has been dropped as too costly and not fitting the needs of the entertainment company.

When announced in fall 2007, MetroStudios@Lankershim came with an estimated $3 billion and hailed by city officials as a project that would create more than 3,000 jobs. Since that time, the bottom dropped out of the U.S. economy and NBC Universal was acquired by cable giant Comcast.

In a Jan. 3 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Thomas revealed that it mutually agreed to terminate further work on the project in December.

“In light of NBCU's changing requirements for office and post-production space, the planned MetroStudios@Lankershim project was not considered economically viable at this time,” the filing said.

The project was planned to be completed in two phases on property owned by the Metropolitan Transit Authority at Lankershim Boulevard and the Hollywood (101) Freeway. Plans called for two 24-story office buildings, a five-story/300,000 square foot building proposed as production and broadcast facilities for entertainment and news programs, a ground floor building that would include retail and restaurant businesses, and a structure to replace Metro parking, a transit plaza and bus parking.

For cancelling the project, NBC Universal paid Thomas a previously agreed upon breakup fee of $9 million.

The MetroStudios project is separate from the ongoing Evolution Plan that would have NBC Universal adding production and post-production facilities, new office and residential space and making changes to the Universal Studios theme park on its 391-acre property in Universal City.

Mark R. Madler