El Segundo Warehouse Revived as Production Studio

Real Estate
by Danny King

Only in Tinseltown can the distance between Boston and Miami be reduced to less than two miles.

Santa Clarita Studios is scheduled to begin shooting "CSI: Miami" in El Segundo's first film production facility, a recently renovated former industrial building at 2265 El Segundo Blvd.

Shooting should begin next month on the 80,000-square-foot sound stage.

The facility is the second to open in the South Bay. Raleigh Studios' Manhattan Beach studio is home to Boston-based shows "The Practice" and "Boston Public."

"They can stay up to seven years, though there are opt-out clauses in the lease," said Izzy Eichenstein, president of Los Angeles-based Oakstone Co., which holds the primary lease on the Kilroy Realty Corp.-owned property and brokered the sublease deal.

Eichenstein declined to reveal the length of the deal or the financial consideration, and officials at Santa Clarita Studios and Kilroy did not return calls seeking comment.

"They're planning to shoot 22 episodes there, so we know they'll be there for at least a year," said Jim Hansen, director of community and economic development services for the city of El Segundo. The production company did the renovations and filed for about $200,000 for tenant improvements with the city, though Hansen termed that figure a "conservative" number for the investment in the renovation.

Once the local headquarters for Seiko Watches, the building, just west of Douglas Street, was most recently home to shipping company MSAS Global Logistics.

Another sound stage, Moon Crescent, was built at the corner of Nash Street and Mariposa Avenue last year, but the 25,000-square-foot facility was shut down before it ever went into operation, said Hansen.

Pomona Home-a

In acquiring 19 acres of subdivided land in Pomona for $8.5 million, Olson Co, a Seal Beach homebuilder, is finishing what Comstock Crosser & Associates started.

Olson, which sold 15 acres of entitled property in Carson to Centex Homes in March, will be building 117 single-family homes on the Pomona site, located at the northwest corner of Bonita and Towne avenues. Prices for the homes, which will be between 1,700 and 2,100 square feet, will range from $275,000 to $325,000.

"With finished lots ready to deliver, they felt it was a good opportunity in a marketplace that hasn't had new product in about five years," said Roland Chavez, a vice president at O'Donnell/Atkins Co. who, with Scott Richardson and Jeff Ragland, represented Olson on the deal.

Manhattan Beach-based Comstock Crosser bought the property a few months ago and had graded the site before being approached by Olson. The first homes in the development will be finished by the end of the year.

Upside Potential

With the prospect of filling an underperforming retail center, a Los Angeles-based family trust has purchased West Covina Parkway Plaza for $13 million. The 88,000-square-foot center, at West Covina Parkway and Sunset Avenue, includes tenants Good Guys, Petco and Pier 1 Imports.

"The main draw was that they were buying on a 10.75 cap rate on existing tenants, and there was some upside with the leasing," said Stephen Lampe, senior investment associate at Marcus & Millichap, who represented the buyer, Properties LLC, on the deal.

The center's vacancy rate was at 12 percent at the time of the sale, about 5 percent above the area's average, Lampe said.

Marcus & Millichap's Gregory Mills represented the seller, West Covina Parkway Plaza LP, on the deal.

Palatial Tastes

Economy be damned, Rand Corp. is not going to skimp on its new digs.

The Santa Monica-based think tank will begin construction on its 309,000-square-foot headquarters building at the end of the month. The structure, which will replace its 50-year-old headquarters building next door, is estimated to cost $100 million. It is expected to be completed in mid-2004.

"We wanted a modern, energy efficient and technically-advanced headquarters," said Rand spokesman David Egner. "This building will meet our needs for many years."

The $323-a-foot figure struck some as extravagant. A typical office building with subterranean parking and tenant improvements costs about $200 a foot to build, according Kevin Shannon, senior vice president at Grubb & Ellis Co.

"You can spend as much money as you want on a building like that," said Shannon. "And obviously, they are."

Rand had been looking at 6100 Center Dr. in Howard Hughes Center as well as one of the six MGM Plaza Buildings in Santa Monica as potential acquisitions before settling on its build-to-suit plan, according to real estate sources.

"The construction of a three-story, underground parking garage for 825 vehicles significantly added to the cost," said Egner.

As for the old Ocean Avenue headquarters, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante approved a $130 million tax-exempt bond last week for the development of 12.7 acres into parks, residential units and a new city services building.

Staff reporter Danny King can be reached at (323) 549-5225 ext. 230, or at dking@labusinessjournal.com.

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