Opal Capital Partners is keeping a long-running streak alive in Culver City, where Sony Pictures Entertainment has agreed to renew a lease for the firm's 44,626-square-foot office building.


The Sony Corp. subsidiary inked a three-year, $8.5 million deal for the building, at 10100 Venice Blvd., which has been fully occupied since opening in 1986.


Sony has occupied the building since 1991, when it purchased Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures. The corporate audit, accounting and worldwide fulfillment units for those divisions are located in the four-story building a block away from Sony's Pictures Studios.


Still, Westlake Village-based Opal Capital Partners' luck at the building with Sony could be running out. Sony Pictures Entertainment is reassessing its real estate needs, building more space on its backlot and shuffling divisions after acquiring Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. two years ago.


The company is trying to sublease about 250,000 square feet at MGM Plaza in Century City and at Yahoo Plaza in Santa Monica, though it recently inked a 77,000-square-foot lease at 10960 Wilshire Blvd. in Culver City.


Sony also leases a 345,000-square-foot building at 10000 Washington Blvd., owned by Transpacific Development Co. Sony's lease at the building, named Sony Pictures Plaza, runs through 2027, according to Tom Irish, Transpacific's president.


Outside its backlot, Sony leases about 800,000 square feet in office buildings scattered across the Westside, though most are in Culver City. Many of those leases could be consolidated onto Sony's backlot when its 1 million-square-foot expansion project is completed in several years.


Most of those leases are in small buildings, like the one owned by Opal Capital Partners, which built the Nadel Architects Inc.-de-signed building at the corner of Venice Boulevard and Clarington Avenue. Before Sony, previous tenants included MGM/UA Entertainment Co. and Turner Entertainment.


Gary Peterson of Opal Capital Partners has owned and managed the building since he developed the property. Peterson represented himself in the negotiations with Sony, which was also represented internally.


Loving Pasadena
Internet dating service eHarmony.com Inc. is moving its headquarters down the street and into one of Pasadena's newest office buildings.


The company signed a 47,500-square-foot lease at 888 E. Walnut St., named IndyMac Bank Center, which IDS Real Estate Services recently finished constructing.


The value of the deal wasn't disclosed, but at the building's asking rates, the five-year lease would be worth close to $8.5 million.


Starting in June 2006 eHarmony will move out of 300 N. Lake Ave., where it took roughly half the amount of space. The building is owned by the L.A. County Employees Retirement Association, where the retirement fund is also based.


"eHarmony has experienced significant growth over the past few years," said Greg Waldorf, eHarmony's chief executive, in a statement. "This new office space will not only accommodate our growing staff but it will also improve general office efficiencies."


With the eHarmony lease, IDS has filled almost all of its 233,600-square-foot IndyMac Bank Center, a speculative project the company finished two years ago. IndyMac Bancorp Inc. takes about 180,000 square feet, or 77 percent of the six-story building.


Todd Doney, a vice chairman at CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., represented eHarmony in the deal. The landlord was represented internally by IDS' Dave Saeta and Collier Seeley's Shaun Stiles and Hayden Eaves.


Deal of a Lifetime
Lifetime Entertainment Services inked a 41,400-square-foot lease at 2049 Century Park East worth about $8 million.


The cable TV channel signed a 5-year lease after negotiations dragged on for several months. Lifetime's lease ran out in September, and the firm executed a short-term extension to wrap-up negotiations.


Lifetime wanted to stay at the property, one of the triangular so-called theme towers, in anticipation of the completion of a renovation of the property and the completion of nearby 2000 Ave. of the Stars and its new amenities.


"Economics on the Westside associated with moving a company of this size are tough," said Cresa Partners LLC's' Brian Davies, who represented Lifetime in the deal. "The supply of larger blocks of space is very small."


Trammell Crow Co. handles leasing the theme towers and the construction and leasing of 2000 Avenue of the Stars for funds managed by investment firm JP Morgan & Co. Inc.


Davies and colleague David Toomey represented Lifetime on the deal. Trammell Crow's Patti Gilbert represented the landlord.


Condo Conversion
The Kor Group Inc. has sold its 80-unit Sterling Apartments building to StarPoint Properties LLC for $15 million.


StarPoint, which has converted rental properties into condominiums, is paying $187,500 per unit for the East Hollywood property, a price that is high but not unheard of for a multifamily building in the area.


The three-story Sterling Apartments, located at 1800 N. Normandie Ave., between Franklin Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, is about 96 percent leased.


Starpoint is planning to invest $1.8 million into renovating the property, which will get spruced-up common areas, remodeled kitchens and bathrooms and new hardwood floors.


"This apartment building is in a prime stage for renovation and a reposition with an opportunity for condo conversion in the future," Paul Daneshrad, StarPoint's chief executive, said in a statement. "Our goal is to create a safe and more attractive community for all local Hollywood residents."


Both buyer and seller were represented by Kitty Wallace, a senior vice president at Sperry Van Ness.


*Staff reporter Andy Fixmer can be reached by phone at (323) 549-5225, ext. 263, or by e-mail at afixmer@labusinessjournal.com .

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