Movie Studio Comes to Black Community in Los Angeles – The Stocker Street Creative



The Stocker Street Creative will bring a film studio to Baldwin Hills. This black-led project will include 50,000 square feet of sound stage studio space, community halls and restaurants.

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Stan Washington (right), a resident of View Park, and the developer and project director of Stocker Street Creative, with founder and managing partner of 4S Bay Partners, LLC Jessica Sarowitz and chief investment officer Jim Casselberry.
Photo by Jason Lewis

By Jason Lewis

Black culture in the Los Angeles area has influenced film, television, music and fashion around the world, and starting December 2024, black creatives will no longer have to leave the black community in Los Angeles to create their work.

The Stocker Street Creative project will bring a state-of-the-art film and television studio to Baldwin Hills. The project, which includes 50,000 feet of sound stage studio space, will transform a 5.12-acre block along Stocker Street, with Santa Rosalia Dr. at the east end and Don Felipe Dr. at the east end. west end, into a campus for filmmakers, and there will be spaces for the community to use. The site is opposite the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

This project will be placed at the heart of a community that has a strong influence on pop culture.

“When we talk about the creative economy and our impact on Hollywood, there are so many people in our area,” said Stan Washington, president and CEO of Pantheon Business Consulting LLC and developer and project director of Stocker. Creative Project. “Baldwin Hills, View Park, Windsor Hills, Leimert Park, West Adams – this whole community all along the Crenshaw corridor – there are tons of people in our community who work in the entertainment industry. They are behind the cameras, they are in front of the cameras. They are writers, directors, we have people who are artists and playwrights. It’s an extremely dynamic and robust environment where talent is alive and well. And we drive this economy. We are an important part of it. A lot of these trends and a lot of these trend setters come from this particular part of town. And that feeds into what happened in Hollywood.

This project will allow black talent to be able to stay within the black community to create their work.

“It will provide an environment that will not only allow our creatives to tell our story, but also create an environment where they can create a real platform,” Washington said. “Instead of having to leave our community to tell these stories, we’re really bringing people back to this neighborhood to participate in how these stories are told.

“We want this to be a home for independent creators, writers and filmmakers – individuals who are into all aspects of art – so they can have a place where they can showcase and sell, and ultimately produce and create. the content they create. We want them to be able to use their talents at home, and not have to be in Santa Monica, Burbank, North Hollywood and all those other parts of town where production is going on.

There are several major projects in the Crenshaw district, and many of them have raised concerns of gentrification. Several projects appear to be designed to attract other races into black communities. But the majority of the funding and project development teams for this project are black and from this area.

“The entire development team for this is either people of color, mostly African American, and/or they are individuals who actually live here,” Washington said. “From our marketing people to our development managers, to our architectural design firm, to our community development consultants. All of these people are individuals who have an important connection to this community, and many of them still live in this community, like me. It gives us a much stronger purpose and understanding of the importance of this project and why we need to develop it in a certain way to meet the needs of this community.

Simeon Stewart (center), who is the project manager, is a graduate of Locke High School and USC.
Photo by Jason Lewis

Washington grew up near Gage Avenue and Western Avenue before moving to View Park in 7th grade, and he still lives in the area. Sherri Franklin, who is the project’s community development consultant, is the executive director of the Urban Design Center, and she has been involved in numerous economic development projects in South Los Angeles over the past 30 years. Simeon Stewart, who is the project manager, is a graduate of Locke High School and USC, and he is the owner of Stewart Manhattan. Marc Brogdon, who is the marketing consultant, is a resident of Baldwin Hills and he is the chairman of the N2U Creative Marketing Group, which handles marketing for the Pan-African Film Festival. The executive architects for the project are Earl Gales and Ryan Gales of Jenkins, Gales & Martinez, Inc. The property manager is James Daughrity, an Inglewood resident and owner of Daughrity Real Estate.

The finance team is 4S Bay Partners, LLC, which was founded by Jessica Sarowitz, Managing Partner. Sarowitz is Afro-Caribbean and Hispanic, and her chief investment officer, Jim Casselberry, is black. 4S Bay Partners has already committed over $100 million for its investment in the project. This amount mainly covers the cost of land and the cost of construction.

This site will not only be for filmmakers, but also for members of the community.

“We deliberately went to great lengths to create a campus environment that allows the community to participate,” Washington said. “It’s by design. We want it to be a community-inclusive environment.

There will be rooms that community members can use to hold meetings, workshops, roundtables, etc. There will be a rooftop area where luncheons, banquets and social events can be held. And there will be several restaurants on site with indoor and outdoor seating.

“I’m sick of having to drive to Santa Monica or Beverly Hills or West Hollywood to get high-end meals,” Washington said. “I go to Post & Beam, and there are others who are very good at it. I think the District (by GS) is doing very well. But I see room for more.

The project will also be a space for education and job training programs, with possible partnerships with many organizations, including the Los Angeles Urban League.

“The Urban League has a number of training programs aimed at adults and youth,” Washington said. “Entertainment is one of those areas where they’ve really focused, so we’re working in direct partnership with them.

The Stocker Street Creative is so committed to giving black people greater access to the film industry that it has become the platinum sponsor of the Pan-African Film Festival, held annually at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

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