Now that the Capitol Records Tower has been sold, preservationists and Hollywood boosters are likely pleased that the landmark will retain its original use as an office building.


But another cause for hand wringing could emerge as the new owner makes plans to develop adjacent property.


Argent Ventures LLC, which purchased the 13-story Hollywood landmark and surrounding property for $50 million from Capitol Records' parent EMI Group PLC, plans to develop the remaining land on the two-acre parcel. A mixed-use development is one possibility.


Linda Dishman, executive director of the Los Angeles Conservancy, said that any new development at the Vine and Yucca streets parcel should preserve the tower's prominent place in the Hollywood skyline.


"One of the reasons that the building is so well-known and beloved is because of its views from the 101 Freeway," Dishman said. "(Preserving) the view corridor from different vantage points in L.A. is going to be very important."


The tower was built in 1956 and is meant to look like a stack of vinyl records. Musicians like Frank Sinatra and The Beach Boys recorded there.


As part of the deal, the famed circular building will not be converted to condominiums as had been speculated, but will be leased back to EMI so Capitol's operations can remain there. Capitol Records and Capitol Studios also will continue to occupy the adjacent Gogerty Building. The sale also includes a parking lot on Argyle Avenue.


Chris Bonbright, chief executive at Ramsey-Shilling Commercial Real Estate Services Inc., said that Argent will work with community groups as it makes plans for development of the site.


"We will build something on the property that is appropriate, environmentally sensitive and historically sensitive to the magnitude of this physical icon," said Bonbright, who represented Argent in the deal. "It will be a landmark status quality. One of the strong qualities of the buyer is that they are historically sensitive."


Ever since EMI told city officials in March that it would be open to selling the tower, conservationists have expressed concern for the fate of the tower. Dishman said the structure is eligible for the National Historic Register and is in the process of being designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument by the City Council. She called the building "one of the top iconic buildings of L.A."


Ramsey-Shilling's Frank Buckley and John Tronson also represented Argent on the deal. EMI was represented in-house.


Added Value Deal
D/R Added Value, a brand development and market research company, will move into the former Hanna-Barbera studio building in Universal City next spring after signing a seven-year lease there.


The 31,000-square-foot building at 3400 Cahuenga Blvd. is being renovated by landlord McGregor Co. and will be entirely occupied by Added Value, which hopes to preserve some of the Hanna-Barbera heritage.


Eva Forberger, Added Value's chief financial officer, said that there are talks to include Hanna-Barbera cartoon murals or animation cells on interior walls. "We are trying to keep the spirit of Hanna-Barbera alive," she said.


The lease is valued at $7 million, which works out to about $226 per square-foot. "We feel very comfortable with the lease," Forberger said.


Added Value outgrew its office at 7474 N. Figueroa St. in Eagle Rock, after recently adding 20 new employees. The company has a total of 125 employees.


John Eichler, senior director with Cushman & Wakefield Inc. represented Added Value on the deal. McGregor represented itself in the transaction.


HKS Expansion
HKS Architects Inc.'s Los Angeles practice, which is about to celebrate its 20-year anniversary here, has expanded into a 10,000-square-foot space at its existing Beverly Hills offices.


The additional space will allow the 50-person office to gradually add 90 people to handle new commissions. The office has been responsible for completing more than 100 projects totaling $2 billion in construction since 1987. Two additional offices were opened in Orange County and San Francisco in the past three years.


The seven-year lease deal at 9441 W. Olympic Blvd. is valued at about $5 million.


"Now that we're in a position to grow, we plan to move into other markets beyond residential mix-use," said Jack Price, who for 14 years has run West Coast operations for the Dallas-based firm, which ranks among the nation's top-five architectural and engineering firms according to Building Design & Construction magazine.


Nationwide, the company is known for its healthcare facility and interior design practices, but the local office has not gone after as much of that business as Price would like. "There's a lot of depth in the market, and we see tremendous potential here," he said.


HKS's Beverly Hills branch is the company's second largest office and has more than $700 million worth of projects underway, including the W Hotel Hollywood and Residences at Hollywood and Vine, and the Press Telegram Lofts, a conversion of the Long Beach newspaper's historic former plant.


In addition, the company's sports and entertainment group was selected to assist in the renovation of 43-year-old Dodger Stadium. The phased multi-year renovation began following the 2005 season.


Brian Davies of CRESA Partners LLC represented HKS on the lease deal.


Former Laker Makes Good
Former Los Angeles Laker and current Miami Heat star Shaquille O'Neal has formed a real estate and development company that will pursue interests in Los Angeles and South Florida, among other areas.


Though the O'Neal Group has said it plans to enter the Los Angeles market, no pending projects in the area have been announced, said spokeswoman Tina Menditto.


"L.A. is a market of interest for Shaquille," Menditto said. "He is going to be doing more in that market."


The Miami-based company's first project will be a fitness and gym facility at a large mixed-used development in downtown Miami.


Staff Reporter Daniel Miller can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 263, or dmiller@labusinessjournal.com.

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