Hines buys Lantana Center

Real estate giant shells out $62 mil for Santa Monica complex

Lantana Center, the upscale office complex and pre- and post-production facility in Santa Monica that houses Digital Magic, Todd-AO and other entertainment companies, has been sold for $62 million to Houston-based real estate giant Hines Interest Limited Partnership.

Alex Winitsky, who built the 200,000-square-foot complex in 1989 with partner Arlene Sellers, told Daily Variety Tuesday that he had agreed to continue running the facility for another three years on behalf of the new owners.

“One of the important principles in the sale was that nothing change in the operation of the place,” Winitsky said, “and that it will continue being an environment in which dogs remain welcome and suits will be tolerated, but not required.”

Leasehold interest

The purchase deal includes a leasehold interest in a five-acre plot adjoining the Lantana property, which lies on 7.25 acres. Lantana had rights to the five acres under a 30-year lease.

In addition, Winitsky said Santa Monica city officials had approved plans for a new 65,000-square-foot building at the western end of the Lantana property at 3000 W. Olympic Blvd.

Privately-owned Hines has a real-estate portfolio of more than 500 properties, including mixed-use, retail and residential developments in San Francisco, Redmond, Wash., Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, New York, Mexico City, Berlin, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Moscow, Warsaw and Beijing.

The company was behind the development of Sanwa Bank Plaza in Los Angeles and the NBC campus in Burbank. Founded in 1957, Hines represents several pension funds and major developers and claims assets in excess of $8 billion.

Lantana history

Lantana Center, built for $50 million as a joint venture between Sellers, Winitsky and Unisys Corp., was designed by architect Arthur Pereira. The complex housed Skywalker Sound South before Todd-AO took over the George Lucas facilities in 1994, and still is home to Caravan Pictures, which last week announced a name change to Spyglass Entertainment.

Other tenants include Hyper Image, Inner City Filmmakers, Estevez Prods., writers, casting agents and the Hollywood Creative Directory. Post-production offices for “H20,” the latest installment in the “Halloween” series, were also at Lantana.

Winitsky pointed out that the L.A. Farm restaurant, which he owns with Sellers and chef Jean-Pierre Peiny, will not change hands.

Sellers and Winitsky have acquired rights to a three-acre parcel of land on a 37-acre property near the Battersea power station in London for a joint-venture production facility similar to Lantana. They are also in the midst of negotiating rights to a property in Manhattan for yet another production outlet.

The couple’s long history as producers includes credits on “Circle of Friends” (1995), “Stanley and Iris” (1990), “Swing Shift” (1985), “The Lady Vanishes” (1979) and “The Seven Percent Solution” (1976).

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