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Sun Valley | Valley Focus

Junkyard Leased for Movie Sound Stages

January 04, 1997|JILL LEOVY

In one of several new construction projects triggered by the explosive growth of the local entertainment industry, a 27-acre junkyard in Sun Valley has been leased for conversion into 16 new sound stages for film production.

Sam Adlen, owner of Aadlen Brothers Auto Wrecking, signed over his Sun Valley property to a group of investors last month, said Jerry Martinez, Aadlen manager.

The investors, whom Martinez would not identify, plan to finish the new studios by the end of this year, he said. The group represents people involved in large-scale film production, rather than commercials or television shows, Martinez said.

About 85 people will lose their jobs when the Sun Valley wrecking yard closes. However, a clause in the new lease requires that displaced workers be first in line for jobs at the new studio, said Martinez.

Adlen has run the junkyard in the 11500 block of Tuxford Street for 35 years at a healthy profit, Martinez said. But when speculators began contacting him earlier this year asking if he would lease his property for entertainment uses, it dawned on him that he could "get more of a return without so much of a headache," said Martinez.

In so doing, Adlen has followed the lead of other owners of aged industrial property in the San Fernando Valley who are suddenly finding their holdings prized by entertainment industry investors.

The demand is fueled by a critical shortage of sound stages in the Los Angeles area. Driven by overseas sales and growth in the cable and satellite television markets, entertainment interests are frantically snapping up any available office or industrial space for use in production.

Existing studios are booked months ahead, and crews are temporarily renting warehouses and airplane hangars in order to film movies and television shows.

The squeeze has enlivened a real estate development market brought low by years of soft demand.

Adlen plans to continue operating his other junkyard in Los Angeles.

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