Even if complex is sold, contract will stay in effect

In case there was doubt, Oscar is staying where he is.

Though a proposed sale is afoot for the Hollywood & Highland complex that houses Oscar’s new home, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences execs said the change in ownership wouldn’t affect the Oscarcast’s base.

Acad execs on Monday pointed out that Hollywood & Highland hasn’t been sold yet, but if it does change hands, the Acad’s contract stays in effect. Org is two years into its 20-year pact at the complex’s Kodak Theater.

L.A.-based CIM Group is said to be in talks to buy the Hollywood & Highland complex from Trizec Properties. The shopping, hotel and entertainment complex is expected to sell for one-third of Trizec’s original $650 million cost.

Nevertheless, one source on the development side said of the sale, “It certainly doesn’t hold any negative implications for the Kodak Theater.”

Many people on Monday speculated that the big changes will be on the retail side.

Acad execs have said they’re happy with the deal; the Kodak site worked well under trying circumstances. In the first year, for the 74th annual ceremonies, everyone spent a great deal of time and energy addressing issues of efficiency and security at the brand-new venue. Among the considerations were the location, which is accessible to foot traffic and cars and is easily seen from nearby buildings — concerns that became heightened after 9/11.

The second year, the Iraqi conflict increased security concerns; the red carpet and fan-bleachers were eliminated.

In both years, the event came off without a hitch.

So this year may be the first time that the Academy can hold an Oscarcast under “normal” circumstances.

AEG spokesman Michael Roth said his org “is in the middle of a multiyear agreement to operate and book the Kodak Theater. We are familiar with the owners of CIM and feel they are terrific developers. We look forward to working with them.”

Hollywood & Highland also houses the new syndie “On-Air With Ryan Seacrest.”

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