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REAL ESTATE

Deal said to be pending for KTLA-TV's home

November 20, 2007|Roger Vincent | Times Staff Writer

The owner of Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood has a preliminary agreement to buy the former Warner Bros. studio a few blocks away that is now home to station KTLA-TV Channel 5, according to people who know about the deal.

Los Angeles investment firm Hudson Capital is still negotiating terms of the sale with Tribune Co. of Chicago, which owns KTLA, the Los Angeles Times and several other media outlets, the people said.

Tribune representatives declined to comment on the pending sale, and Hudson Capital managing partner Victor Coleman did not return phone calls. However, Hudson Capital is the likely buyer, according to people aware of the transaction who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are secret.

Tribune announced in August that the studio, at the southeast corner of Sunset Boulevard and Bronson Avenue, was for sale. The block-size lot also houses Tribune Entertainment and Tribune Studios.

The property includes the prominent Colonial-style mansion facing Sunset that was built by Warner Bros. in 1919. TV shows filmed at Tribune's production facilities on the property -- but separate from KTLA -- include "Judge Judy," "Judge Joe Brown" and "Hannah Montana."

No official price was set for the historic studio, but real estate experts valued it at about $175 million last summer. Prices for many large investment properties have fallen in the last few months as the nationwide credit crunch made it harder for buyers to obtain capital for acquisitions.

Other studios and historic properties in the neighborhood have sold for millions of dollars in recent years as investors race to take part in Hollywood's resurgence.

Hudson Capital bought Sunset Gower Studios, the former Columbia Pictures headquarters, in August for $200 million.

Hudson Capital was founded by Victor Coleman, former president of Arden Realty Inc., a Los Angeles office landlord. Arden was sold last year to General Electric Co. for $3.2 billion. Sunset Gower Studios was Hudson's first major acquisition.

At the time Coleman said he intended to pursue the acquisition of other independently owned studios. "I'm a big believer in real estate that already has operating businesses," he said.

Tribune is moving quickly to sell the property by the end of the year, according to real estate brokerage Cushman & Wakefield, which represents Tribune. That could coincide with the company's pending $8.2-billion buyout by Chicago real estate magnate Sam Zell, expected to close in the fourth quarter.

A Cushman & Wakefield representative also declined to comment on the pending studio transaction. The brokerage had announced in August that even after a sale, KTLA would remain at its current location as a tenant for an indefinite period.

The site, which includes about 10 soundstages, has room for expansion, and industry observers predicted that a buyer would add film and television production buildings and office space.

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roger.vincent@latimes.com

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