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Commercial Real Estate | Form and Function: Innovative
Uses of Southland Work Spaces

Location Scout Found His Own Urban Setting

January 28, 1998|JESUS SANCHEZ

The Glendale warehouse was just an empty shell of brick and concrete when film location scout Peter Cohn came across the property nearly a decade ago. The structure even lacked plumbing, and there were gaping holes in the roof.

But Cohn believed that the building's abundance of open space and natural light, as well as its funky character and proximity to studios, might make it a popular location for film and commercial shoots. Despite the building's location in an industrial area, Cohn thought he could capitalize on the structure's urban, loft-like design, features that tend to be popular with photographers and other creative types.

"This has a downtown look without being downtown," Cohn said. Clients "used to hire me to find places like this."

The building that now houses Cohn's Solar Studios was originally a dance rehearsal studio in the 1940s. Since then it has served a variety of tenants, including a furniture maker, an auto body shop and a bed store.

Cohn retained the building's industrial character while adding a lounge, kitchen and dressing areas. Upstairs, he carved out smaller studios, an office and an apartment-like living space for himself and his Rottweiler, Floyd.

The heart of Cohn's studio is a cavernous, 8,000-square-foot space framed by brick walls and a row of arched windows. The hall--which rents for $1,000 to $3,000 a day--features an exposed, wood-frame ceiling and a gleaming concrete floor.

The giant, column-free room can be used for anything from a full-fledged movie production occupying the entire space or a small-scale fashion shoot tucked into a corner. A giant white backdrop--called a cyclorama--curves around one section of the hall, providing a site where photographers and filmmakers can shoot scenes to which special effects will be added.

The building has been the setting for car and shampoo commercials, music videos and fashion magazine shoots, and it appeared in Rolling Stone magazine after the music group Fleetwood Mac shot its cover photo there last year.

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