Universal Studios Hollywood will begin construction on its own version of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in late summer 2013, after authorities gave final approval to its Evolution Plan.
The Harry Potter-themed land will be just one of a number of major updates to the movie studios and theme park, as part of an overall $1.6 billion project. The 25-year Evolution Plan was approved by the LA County Board of Supervisors, with owner NBCUniversal claiming that it will create more than 30,00 jobs and generate $2 billion in economic activity.
The Los Angeles Planning Commission had previously recommended approval for the plan, which will see both production facilities and the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park undergo a major expansion. The breakthrough came after Universal Studios Hollywood's owner, NBCUniversal, agreed in July 2012 to drop plans to build a new residential community on part of the studio's backlot.
Responding to the approval, Universal Studios Hollywood's President and COO Ron Meyer said: "After nearly a decade of work on the Evolution Plan, today’s vote sets the stage for our next 100 years in Los Angeles. We are thankful for the support and leadership we have received from both the County and City of Los Angeles and are ready to get started investing in these important tourism and production projects in the next few months."
The Wizarding of Harry Potter is expected to be very similar to the existing version at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure. It is likely to incorporate a clone of the groundbreaking Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey dark ride, as well as several other attractions, shops and restaurants. At its heart will sit a recreation of the iconic Hogwarts Castle.
Meanwhile, the production studios will also be upgraded, adding new facilities and capabilities with a focus on TV production. New offices will be installed to provide post-production services, traditional office space and other functions.
The long-term plans will see two new hotels installed on the property, reflecting Universal Studios Hollywood's expectations of increased demand when the park opens the Wizarding World. Further details of the proposed updates to Universal Studios Hollywood can be found on the NBCUniversal Evolution plan website.
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