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Leo the Lion's Former Habitat May Become Ground for Hotel

September 27, 1987

Leo, MGM's trade mark lion, may have his former Thousand Oaks home turned into a 300-room hotel, part of an $81-million mixed-use development.

The Thousand Oaks redevelopment agency is entertaining proposals for the hotel portion on what was the site of the Jungleland tourist attraction and before that, Louis Goebel's lion farm. Founded in 1927, the lion farm served as Leo's residence when he wasn't roaring in the studio.

The total project will include the hotel, a 20,30,000-square-foot conference center, 1,800-seat auditorium, 140,000-square-foot office complex, 1,200-car garage and a five-acre park.

Edward Johnduff, the city's economic development coordinator, said the agency has acquired the land for the hotel and office complex and will lease it to private developers. The lease revenue will then pay the city back for its investment. The auditorium, its parking and the park will be developed by the city.

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