A 1960s-era industrial complex may seem an unlikely hot spot for Westside entertainment and new-media types, but the Lantana complex in Santa Monica has become just that.
Fueled by the new $24 million lease signed by former Disney Studios chief Joe Roth's Revolution Studios, Lantana is undergoing a construction flurry to accommodate demand.
In addition to the 61,000-square-foot structure being built for Revolution, there are two other new buildings being planned for the 12-acre property.
Already on the property are a 200,000-square-foot film and television production facility (which also houses the trendy L.A. Farm restaurant), and a 65,000-square-foot warehouse conversion that houses Imax Corp.'s Western regional headquarters and post-production facility.
"Lantana is so different, it's not your traditional real estate play," said Todd Later, director of marketing for Lantana, which is owned by developer Hines. "We're capitalizing on the success of a 10-year existing project."
Hines, traditionally a builder of high-rise towers, hopes to break ground on its proposed 64,000-square-foot and 152,000-square-foot buildings next year, after it obtains approvals from the city of Santa Monica. Both are being designed by architect Steven Ehrlich, who designed the Sony Music Entertainment complex in Santa Monica and DreamWorks SKG's animation studios in Glendale.
Lantana began its transformation in the late 1980s when Alex Winitsky and Arlene Sellers bought the nondescript property and redeveloped it into a production hub, in response to the growing need for informal, "just in time" production facilities away from the major studio lots.
Hines purchased the complex and five acres along Exposition Boulevard in August 1998 with an eye to creating an expanded entertainment and studio campus.
The post-production firm Todd-AO is an anchor tenant in the complex's main building, called Lantana Center. About 90,000 square feet of space there is reserved for month-to-month tenants, who can use editing equipment, a screening room and furnished offices. That short-term space is pretty much always full, said Patricia Gilbert, Lantana's assistant project manager. Post-production work has been done there for such films and TV shows as "Saving Private Ryan," "The Sopranos" and "The Matrix."
"It's a one-stop production facility, a film hotel," Gilbert said.
And the action will likely get livelier once Revolution moves in, which is expected to occur next April.
Revolution received $250 million in equity financing from Sony Pictures Entertainment, Starz Encore Group and Fox Entertainment Group, and will produce at least 36 films over the next six years.
"It will run its productions out of the space," said Mark Robinson, one of three brokers at Julien J. Studley who represented Revolution in its lease. "The idea is to create an environment where producers, directors, talent, advertising and designers are flourishing in one environment, where an integrated group of people is operating."
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