It's been a big couple of weeks for studio lot news. Following the announcement of Paramount's plans to spend $700 million expanding its 62 acre lot in Hollywood, and the notice of preparation of an environmental impact review for the Sunset Bronson Studios project, the owners of Culver City's 14 acre Culver Studios are talking about selling, according to the Financial Times (subscription required). Pacific Coast Capital partners, Lehman Brothers, and Picbengro ("a private vehicle for an undisclosed New York investor") bought the studios from Sony in 2004 for $125 million. They tried to sell in 2008, and garnered offers upwards of $150 million supposedly, before the market collapse brought down Lehman Brothers (or vice versa).
Culver Studios Chief Executive Jamie Cella told the FT that the sale is attracting interest from international players (in 2008, by comparison, the interest came from entertainment companies and real estate opportunity funds--ah the good old days). The studio could be a spectacular trophy for an international business mogul--it was built in 1918 by Thomas Ince and previous owners have included Cecil B. DeMille, Joseph Kennedy, and Howard Hughes. King Kong, Rebecca, Citizen Kane, and Gone with the Wind are some of the classics that were filmed on the grounds (modern classics shot there include America's Next Top Model and Deal or No Deal).
Another interesting factoid mentioned in the story: the studio has entitlements to build another 200,000 square feet of office space.
· 'Citizen Kane' Studio Goes up for Sale [Financial Times]