Further solidifying its commitment to Hollywood, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has agreed to buy a 120,000-square-foot building on Vine Street to house its artifacts and archives.
The Academy, headquartered in Beverly Hills, has already committed to the re-emerging neighborhood by agreeing to hold its annual Academy Awards fete in the Kodak Theatre, now under construction at TrizecHahn Development Corp.'s titanic Hollywood & Highland project. Its new deal is to buy the former AIDS Project Los Angeles building at 1313 Vine St., according to informed sources. Terms of the purchase were not available last week.
The building, on the southern edge of Hollywood, was built in the late 1940s for ABC, which moved out in the mid-'70s. The property was vacant for several years until AIDS Project Los Angeles bought it and moved in during the 1990s.
The property's present owner, Accord Interests, paid AIDS Project Los Angeles a reported $11.5 million for the building last year.
On its deal with the Academy, Accord Interests was represented by Christopher Bonbright, CEO of Ramsey-Shilling Commercial Real Estate Services Inc., and John Tronson, a principal at the firm.
Scott Katcher, a managing director at real estate services company Julien J. Studley Inc., said that he and Tim O'Rourke represented the Academy in its acquisition of the building, which sits on a 3.3-acre parcel on Vine Street between Fountain and Homewood avenues. Katcher declined to comment further, citing a confidentiality agreement to keep mum until a news conference planned for this week.
The Academy's headquarters is at 8949 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills. Real estate sources familiar with the deal said the new location would be for storage of film archives and artifacts covering the history of Tinseltown.
Karl Sternbaum, an Accord Interests partner, said the firm had planned to renovate existing buildings at 1313 Vine St. and add new ones, with the goal of creating approximately 300,000 square feet of commercial space geared to entertainment-related tenants.
Those plans never panned out, however, said Sternbaum, declining to comment further.
Sternbaum said Accord Interests, which also owns the Nickelodeon studios building on Olive Avenue in Burbank and hotels in Beverly Hills and Old Pasadena, plans to remain active in what it sees as a dynamic Hollywood real estate market. It will concentrate on creative office space for entertainment tenants and on hospitality properties.
Without confirming the sale, Sternbaum said, "That (1313 Vine St.) is a great piece of property and the revitalization of that area is obvious and progressing.
"I think if you look at what's going on in the neighborhood, it started with Hollywood (Boulevard) to be sure," he said. "It's still early and it hasn't hit Santa Monica (Boulevard), but you can see that it's happening. If you look at the Sunset and Vine (residential development) and the block between Sunset and Santa Monica, you can see it."
Tronson agreed that the makeover of Hollywood is spreading, as evidenced by the Academy acquisition.
"It just continues the trend of development and redevelopment farther south," he said of the Academy moving into the neighborhood. "Santa Monica (Boulevard) is the next target. The (Community Redevelopment Agency) wants to see more money spent in that area, and we'd like it to be a broad-based effort."
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