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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Film Production Space Makes Grade With College

Santa Monica College has bought the headquarters of director James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment Inc. production company.

The community college in late November paid $9 million for the three-story creative office building with a screening room. It was owned by a limited liability corporation operated by Cameron, who purchased it for $3.5 million in 1992.

The building, at 919 Santa Monica Blvd., is next to the community college’s performing arts center. Lightstorm will remain in the building, paying a monthly rate of $22,500 until its lease expires in October. The college will then renovate the space for use entirely as offices. Currently, dozens of administrators are housed in temporary trailers.

“It’s right next to the campus and that’s what was attractive,” said Charlie Yen, the college’s director of events and contracts who represented the college in-house. “We definitely want to get rid of those trailers. Personally, I think it’s a good buy.”

The college’s board of trustees has been considering buying the property for more than two years and unanimously approved the acquisition Nov. 15. Financing is coming from a $295 million college bond measure passed in 2008. The college also plans to renovate the east wing of its performing arts center next year and use the building’s garage for overflow parking.

Cameron’s production company is moving to the MBS Media Campus at 1600 Rosecrans Ave. in Manhattan Beach. In May, it signed a 115,000-square-foot lease for sound stage and production office space where it will produce sequels to “Avatar.”

The college also was represented in-house by Dr. Chui L. Tsang. The seller was represented by CBRE Group Inc.’s Steve Wiseman.

New Housing

Gateways Hospital & Mental Health Center broke ground last month on a $2.1 million transitional housing project in Silver Lake.

The two-story, 18-bed facility at 440 N. Hoover St. will provide housing for people leaving the mental health wards at state hospitals. The facility will provide clinical and social rehabilitation services, psychiatric treatment, medication and community reintegration.

Gateways is a non-profit organization that provides in- and out-patient care for the mentally ill and has several campuses throughout Echo Park and Silver Lake. The facility, designed by downtown L.A.’s RSA Architects, will have a contemporary craftsman-style design and framed windows.

In 2009, the Project Development Service Group of Chicago’s Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. facilitated the development, handling entitlements, construction management and funding.

“We have helped Gateways go back to the beginning and realize the potential of their property,” said Jack Kozakar, vice president of project and development services at Jones Lang LaSalle. “Now after two years of planning, design and community outreach, we are finally breaking ground.”

The project is receiving public and private support, including funding from the L.A. Community Redevelopment Agency and Ahmanson Foundation.

After the housing is finished, Gateways plans to raze an older housing complex, and build an office and community center in its place. The proposed 9,000-square-foot center, at 433 N. Hoover, would be used as a work space for job-training and community wellness programs, and for staff and counseling offices. Gateways is still securing financing for this project.

New Hires

Studley Inc. has brought in a third new executive to its L.A. offices in six months.

John Bertram joined the firm’s West L.A. office in October as executive managing director from Coldwell Banker Commercial Westmac, where he was executive vice president.

He joins Executive Vice President Steve Walbridge and Executive Managing Director Ness Hamaoui, who both came from Cushman & Wakefield Inc. this summer.

“These are new positions,” said Mark Sullivan, Studley’s Southern California regional manager. “We always want to find space for great people. These are really high-caliber professionals that we have been talking to for a long time.”

Bertram has 30 years of experience in commercial real estate and has completed transactions totaling more than 4 million square feet. In 1988, he co-founded Westmac Commercial Brokerage Co., which became Coldwell Banker Commercial Westmac in 2003. His clients include money manager Ares Management, S. Mark Taper Foundation and ad agency 72andSunny.

Bertram, 51, said he joined Studley to take advantage of its international reach.

“The business has changed. You have to have bigger platforms to do national and international business if you want those clients,” he said. “At this stage in my career that was a segment of the business I didn’t want to pass up anymore.”

Staff reporter Jacquelyn Ryan can be reached at jryan@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 228.

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