Orion Pictures is making a new and visible presence in Century City with its relocation this weekend of nearly 400 employees to six floors (80,000 square feet) of the Eighteen Eighty Eight Building--not on Constellation Avenue, as would seem appropriate, but on Century Park East.
Besides the move, from several locations, "Orion" is about to replace "Tiger International" on the 18-year-old, 21-story tower, owned by an affiliate of JMB Realty and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.
While the building was being prepared for the Orion sign, a 100-seat screening room was being completed last week on the ground floor for the company, which distributed the Academy Award-winning film "Platoon." Movie posters for other Orion films were also being prepared for the walls between the parking structure and offices, said Les Small, assistant vice president of Cushman & Wakefield, who represented Orion in the lease transaction, still the biggest in Century City to date.
Small and Dan Powers, also with Cushman & Wakefield, represented Orion in subleasing three locations being vacated by Orion, including two floors (36,372 square feet) at Watt Plaza, 1875 Century Park East, to New Century/Vista Film Co., which distributed such films as "Stepfather" and "Heat."
Small and Powers also handled subleases of 8,000 square feet in the same building to Turner Broadcasting System and 11,447 square feet in Olympic Plaza, 11500 Olympic Blvd., to Heritage Entertainment, which produces, distributes and syndicates major motion pictures. (It was associated with the old TV series "Flipper" but is in pre-production on a film about the flight of Voyager, another titled "Charles Manson, In His Own Words," and "Mr. North," starring Anjelica and John Huston.) The three subleases have a total value of $4 million.
Two homes of the late movie producer Hal B. Wallis are on the market: one in Rancho Mirage, the other in Holmby Hills.
A facility dedicated to researching the problems of aging was named for Wallis, who died last October at age 88, at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage.
His home there, in the gated area of Tamarisk Country Club, was the setting for many movie-colony gatherings during the past 20 years. Palm Springs architect Hal Leavitt designed the Santa Fe-style home, which was built in 1964.
Listed at $1.1 million with John Walker at West World Properties, Palm Springs, the home is on the 17th fairway, directly across from Frank Sinatra's compound.
The Holmby Hills home, a 1937 French Normandy designed by the late great architect Wallace Neff, is listed at $6.5 million with John Aaroe in Jon Douglas' Beverly Hills office. The house has about 12,000 square feet (with a full projection room) and is on about 1 3/4 flat acres.
Both homes are owned by the Hal B. Wallis estate.
More on the 20 Bel-Air acres that were mentioned last week in Hot Property . . . the buyer was not a gent from London but a local fellow, says Jeff Hyland of Alvarez, Hyland & Young, the Beverly Hills broker who represented the new owner.
Hyland wouldn't give the buyer's name. (Public records show that the new owner took possession as BRL Associates.) However, Hyland described the buyer's plans, which are "to create four world-class houses in a private, club environment behind electric gates for himself and his friends."
The owner might sell one or two of the homes, Hyland added, at prices "probably in the $8-million-to-$10-million range." They will be at least 7,500 to 10,000 square feet in size, he said, and may have grass tennis courts.
"He's assembling a team of the best local architects, designers and landscape architects," Hyland elaborated.
The buyer and Hyland looked for property for some time, and the Bel-Air site, which nearly sold to that London gentleman but was purchased instead by the local fellow, was what Hyland called "a lucky find." "We opened escrow on Monday and closed on Friday," he said. "It's a rare situation to find land in the area that hasn't been built on before."
On the West Side, almost every street has at least one new house under construction, one house in the gutted stage and one major remodel, Hyland said, adding, "Since no lots are left, people are buying houses 20 years old and tearing them down."
Bruce Nelson of Asher Dann & Associates, whom Hyland identified as the broker representing the sellers of the 20 Bel-Air acres, has long maintained that even many of the old Bel-Air mansions will be replaced soon with large, new homes, because the land is so valuable. He has said, "In my opinion, Bel-Air and Holmby are becoming the places to live, because the property is cut up in Beverly Hills, but in Bel-Air and Holmby, there are restrictions" against subdividing, so the lots there are larger.
As the major pieces of property in Bel-Air and Holmby Hills are purchased, he said, "we'll see some astronomical sales figures."