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ViacomCBS eyes sale of LA studio in hot market for stages

ViacomCBS Inc. is looking to sell a historic Los Angeles movie and television lot as the entertainment company tries to capitalize on the demand for production space.

The CBS Studio Center property, known locally as CBS Radford, is a 40-acre (16 hectare) site with 18 sound stages located in the Studio City neighborhood. It is on the market for an undisclosed price, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

George Cheeks, chief executive officer of CBS, said in a memo to staff Monday that the company has hired the brokerage firm Jones Lang LaSalle to market the property. ViacomCBS just recently announced the sale of the former CBS headquarters building, known as Black Rock, in Manhattan for $760 million.

“Similar to our announcement last week regarding the sale of Black Rock in New York, this aligns with our strategy to divest non-core assets like real estate and direct that value to priorities such as creating more of our best-in-class content,” Cheeks said in the memo.

Cheeks said that while the impact of any sale on local staffing has yet to be determined, the company would still have access to enough studio space to continue making its TV shows which require massive sites and high-cost construction, is helping to drive up prices.

Blackstone has partnered with Los Angeles-based Hudson Pacific Properties buying and redeveloping studios while other independent operators, such as Hackman Capital Partners, have been competing for scarce filmmaking real estate. CBS sold a TV production lot in central Los Angeles to Hackman three years ago.

Since 1928, the Studio City lot has hosted productions from the silent picture era through TV series such as “Gilligan’s Island,” “Seinfeld” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

Proceeds from Black Rock sale will allow ViacomCBS “to invest in our strategic growth priorities, including streaming,” Chief Financial Officer Naveen Chopra said in a Aug. 16 statement. Bloomberg

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