Independent Staff Report
HOLLYWOOD — CMNTY Culture, the entertainment and media portfolio companies founded by Grammy Award-winning artist and businessman Philip Lawrence, has announced plans for a new development project dubbed CMNTY Culture Campus.
The 500,000-square-foot project will be brought to life in conjunction with architects HKS and landscape designer Hood Design Studio. Lawrence is partnering with entertainment business manager Thomas St. John on the project.
“The entertainment industry is experiencing a time of unparalleled excitement and change, bringing about an opportunity to reimagine the landscape upon which content is created and consumed,” said Lawrence, who owns the nearby recording studio the Record Plant. “Now, we live in a new era where creatives and their audiences seek opportunities to collaborate and interact, not just in the digital sphere, but in-person.
“Content creators need a physical epicenter, a place that celebrates their work and the power of community. CMNTY Culture Campus will be a place where creative people will want to hang out with like-minded individuals and experience something special,” Lawrence added.
Located on a nearly two-acre site at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue, the CMNTY Culture Campus will be one of the largest Black-owned enterprises in the area and will bring together all aspects of the industry — from artists and content creators, tech and media companies, agencies and management companies, and other entertainment sectors with the mission to support artistic creation and enrich the Hollywood community.
It will feature 430,000 square feet of office space alongside studio/production space, pre- and post-production facilities, education space and performance venues. The project is destined to appeal to major content creation companies, generating jobs and driving business to local companies. CBRE will handle leasing for the project.
“We look forward to engaging and partnering with our neighbors as the project moves forward,” said Thomas St. John, CMNTY Culture CEO. “Their input will be critical as we bring this campus to life. We see this place being an immersive playground for students, artists, creators and innovators of all types while also creating more opportunities in the entertainment industry.”
Project Executive David Malmuth describes CMNTY Culture Campus as a 21st century urban, digital studio, designed not just to be a new landmark in Hollywood, but also a vital member of the community where neighbors such as Hollywood High School — located across the street — feel at home. A 500-seat auditorium that will occupy the street-level corner of the building at Highland and Sunset and a fifth-floor rooftop terrace play space are expected to become one of the most engaging spots in Hollywood.
“Music has always steered and reflected culture,” said Heath May, principal at HKS, the project’s lead designer. “Our goal here is to bring people of diverse backgrounds together and amplify voices into something greater than the individual.
“We want to create a place that is transparent and permeable. The musical instrument is not just the inspiration for the building, but it’s a metaphor for much of the design of CMNTY Culture Campus, creating a performative quality for the building dramatizing that there is something exciting happening here.”
“CMNTY Culture Campus is a strong sign of confidence in Hollywood that will help keep the area on the leading edge of job creation,” said Leron Gubler, president emeritus of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. “The innovative mix of production, performance and creative office space being proposed by this project guarantees that Hollywood will firmly retain its crown as the entertainment capital of the world for generations to come.”