Culver City may be getting a new multimedia campus on a 12-acre site at the corner of the Slauson Boulevard and the east terminus of the Marina (90) Freeway.

LuxCore LLC, which originally was the primary developer of the site, is now taking a minority role and the new developers are rethinking the project, according to city officials. Although the deal has not been completed, the new developers are expected to be a partnership led by the insurance fund Zurick Kemper Stevens and the private developer Hileman Co., with New York-based Apollo Real Estate Fund as the money partner.

The new developer is considering scrapping its original studio and sound stage plans in favor of building a multimedia campus. The square footage has not yet been determined, but the developer is considering construction of seven buildings on the western nine-acres of the site. The three-acre eastern portion, which has been approved by the city for a 12-story building, will probably be sold.

LuxCore proposed last summer building a $150 million motion picture and television studio, a project touted as the city's first ground-up studio development since Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. opened its headquarters there 79 years ago.

But now the developers are thinking twice about going into the sound stage business. Securing financing for such projects is difficult because television studios rarely know their production schedules more than two months in advance, which makes for a skittish projected cash flow. Production companies are also reluctant to enter into long-term leases because they have no guarantee that their TV shows will be successful enough to last the season.

Sources close to the deal say that there's still an outside chance that the studio proposal might go through, but only if a major studio is willing to pre-lease the project. And that, as evidenced by the long wait before Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. agreed in October to anchor the Shamrock Holdings sound stage project in Manhattan Beach, isn't an easy sell.

LuxCore's new partner, Apollo, administers three major real estate funds with assets exceeding $6 billion. Apollo is also partner in the 190,000-square-foot Arboretum Gateway project that it is financing the project with Three Coast Ltd., a development company.

What's up with Rand?

Last year, as reported by the Business Journal, the Rand think tank in Santa Monica indicated that it was finally planning to develop its prime, 15-acre ocean view site into a modern office and residential complex. A developer was supposed to have been announced last November, but officials now say that decision is still months away.


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