It seems like they just keep dropping. Another project that had counted on a movie-theater anchor has been sidelined by the shakeout in the theater circuit industry. The future of Culver City's $41 million Screenland project, also known as the Town Plaza project, is up in the air.

AMC Entertainment Inc., which was to anchor the entertainment complex with a 3,000-seat, stadium-style theater complex, informed developer OliverMcMillan on Nov. 7 that it does not want to go forward with the project, city officials said.

"AMC has backed off and they've indicated they're not doing any new projects," said Mark Wardlaw, deputy director of community development for the city's redevelopment agency. "And there you go."

The city and OliverMcMillan may be forced to do what Developers Diversified Realty Inc. did with the Queensway Bay project in Long Beach go with a phased development instead, city officials said. Another option would be to wait until theater-circuit companies such as AMC are back into expansion mode again, Wardlaw said.

Yet another option that has been floated is to substitute residential units in place of the theater, an approach being pursued for at least one other L.A. retail project that had once sought a theater anchor.

But Culver City officials shied away last week from giving odds on any particular tack, noting that the decision rests in the hands of city policymakers in the coming weeks.

The $41 million project was to include 60,000 square feet of office space, 30,000 square feet of restaurant space, 10,000 square feet for a Trader Joe's market, and a 12-to-14-screen theater with 3,000 seats. The city's redevelopment agency planned to invest $18 million to own and operate a 950-space parking structure on the site.

A phased project would likely include the office components and Trader Joe's, Wardlaw said.

The redevelopment project is a retail component in the city's decade-long effort to revitalize Culver City's downtown.

The city and its redevelopment agency have invested millions in shaping the downtown area, including building two city-owned parking structures, aiding the renovation of the Culver Hotel, opening a new City Hall and upgrading the downtown streetscapes.

The Culver City project has something else in common with Queensway Bay. The development started as a DDROliverMcMillan project, the same team originally brought on board to develop Long Beach's Queensway Bay shopping center. Since the split between Developers Diversified Realty Inc. and San Diego-based OliverMcMillan, DDR has continued in Long Beach while OliverMcMillan is holding the reins in Culver City.

Mid-Wilshire Moves

Architecture firm Daniel, Mann, Johnson, & Mendenhall, is expected to make its long-planned move east to downtown L.A. by this time next year. L.A.'s largest architecture firm DMJM is expected to ink a deal in the coming weeks to move 500 employees into larger quarters at Arco Plaza in downtown L.A., according to various sources. It's just the latest in a string of moves by architecture firms into downtown L.A., including Altoon + Porter Architects, which is moving from its offices in the Miracle Mile to 444 S. Flower St.

DMJM is expected to sign a 10- to 15-year deal for 135,000 square feet by the end of the year. Officials at DMJM said they expect to occupy their new downtown offices by fall 2001, once the company's 100,000-square-foot lease in Mid-Wilshire is up.

Brian Ulf of Cushman Realty Corp., who is representing DMJM in the deal, declined to comment on the transaction.

In the meantime, two deals have recently been inked at 3250 Wilshire Blvd., where DMJM now resides.

Hostpro Inc., a subsidiary of Micron Technology Corp., has signed a deal for 20,000 square feet on the third floor, where the company will locate a Web-hosting and data center. The five-year lease is worth just under $2 million. Hostpro was represented by Steve Cramer of Colliers Seeley International Inc.

And relocating from nearby Chateau Place, United Title has signed a five-year lease valued at $1.5 million, taking about 17,000 square feet on the 18th and 20th floors for the company headquarters. United Title was represented by Phil Lindholm of Cushman & Wakefield.

"They wanted a Wilshire address, and the distinctive look of the high-rise," said Franck Morineau, principal at WilshireWest, which represented owner Realtech Leasing and Management in both deals. The building was built in 1973 and rehabilitated in 1998.

Shopping Center Sale

Pan Pacific Retail Properties Inc. has acquired the Granary Square Shopping Center in Valencia for $18.3 million.

The 136,924-square-foot center, which houses a Ralphs, Long's Drugs and Washington Mutual bank branch, is east of Interstate 5 at McBean Parkway. It is about 90 percent occupied.

The sellers, MRES America Fund 88-II, a division of Mitsui, received about 20 offers on the center, according to David Elliott, a broker with Charles Dunn Co. Inc., who represented the buyer and seller in the transaction. Dunn's David Parker also represented the seller.

Pan Pacific owns shopping centers in Nevada, Oregon, Washington and several other regions, in addition to California. The company's Southern California properties include Canyon Square in Santa Clarita and Palmdale Shopping Center in Palmdale.

Studio City Attraction

Two new tenants have signed onto a newly renovated office building at 10960 Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, bringing the property to full occupancy.

SFX Tollin Robbins Inc., the sports division of SFX Entertainment, signed a lease for 6,250 square feet for offices and production operations.

Media Distributors, an equipment distributor for the entertainment industry, has leased 6,100 square feet in the building.

Prior to the renovation, the building had been a dance studio. Building owner Al Radi was represented by Cathy Scullin and Chad Gahr of NAI Capital Commercial.

Stacey Vierheilig of Charles Dunn Co. represented SFX. Angie Weber of Daum Commercial Real Estate Services represented Media Distributors.

Staff reporter Milo Peinemann can be reached at mpeinemann@labusinessjournal.


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