Acclaimed director James Cameron’s state-of-the-art Lightstorm Entertainment studio was approved on Wednesday by the Agoura Hills Planning Commission as a city-sanctioned digital movie studio.
The Commission voted unanimously to consider the studio at 29901 Agoura Rd. to be within one of three permitted Business Park-Manufacturing zones in Agoura Hills.
"I see this as a great opportunity for Agoura Hills," said commissioner Illene Buckley Weber. "It’s going to employ people . . . It’s a vision that Agoura Hills always wanted.”
Despite concerns over potential traffic to the area, Brian Poliquin, architect of the Lightstorm Entertainment project, assured the Commission that the 52,000-square-foot studio's operations would be conducted indoors, with equipment vehicles parked on-site.
“Most of the movie studios today don’t have the activity that you see in the old Warner Brothers and Universal lots," Poliquin said. "Everything is very controlled . . . You won’t see a lot of activity outside."
The proposed building will be used strictly by the directors, producers, actors and other personnel. Inside the studio, blue screens, wires and pulleys, and live action sets will be used by actors and film makers to capture movement, said Poliquin.
“Avatar 2 and 3 are going to be happening in this building. This is probably some of the most technologically advanced studio filming that will be done,” Poliquin said. "The future studio building along with video game developer THQ, which is already on site, is going to turn the whole area into a digital entertainment campus."
Doug Jacobsen, an executive with Realty Bancorp Equities, who is leasing the former Line 6 property on Agoura Road for studio use to Lightstorm Entertainment, is hopeful about the project's development.
“We are going to move mountains to make this happen,” Jacobsen said. “He [Cameron] wants to get this done as fast as possible.”