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Max Factor won by Heritage

The lottery to take control of the Max Factor Museum ended yesterday when officials from Procter & Gamble, which owns the building, announced it will sell the building to a consortium of real estate developers and local historians who plan to build a museum, restaurant and theater in the 1935 building.

The decision to accept the proposal from Colony Bancorp/Hollywood Heritage was made after the board of directors at the Center Theater Group voted to withdraw their proposal to open a costume warehouse at the site.

A CTG spokesperson yesterday said it withdrew the proposal because the nonprofit theater corporation lacked the financing needed to rehabilitate the building.

Ironically, Los Angeles city officials had been pushing to get CTG into the building with the offer of such incentives as a disappearing loan of up to $ 500 ,000.

That money may go to Colony Bancorp/Hollywood Heritage, which will buy the building from P&G for $ 1.5 million. It will take approximately six months for the deal to be finalized.

After that, it’s been estimated that it will take another six to nine months to gut the building and began the restoration process, said Gerald Schneiderman of Colony Bancorp. The goal is to open the new complex within a year and a half.

In the interim, the Max Factor Museum will stay open and Hollywood Heritage will oversee its operations. The plan is to eventually move the collection of wigs and makeup paraphernalia from the Max Factor building to the yet-to-be-built Hollywood Entertainment Museum (see separate story).

As for the Factor building, Colony Bancorp’s plan is to restore the S. Charles Lee-designed facade and build a multi-use center inside. Joe Musil and Ron Reed, who headed up the restoration of the El Capitan, will oversee this project.

The new tenants will include the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, a restaurant and coffee house (the restaurant will sit under a 50-foot-long skylight) and a four-floor museum on Hollywood’s history that will be run by local historian Robert Nudelman.

Among the items that willbe exhibited in the museum will be costumes and Hollywood stills from John LeBold’s collection.

LeBold, who started collecting costumes from the stars at age 13, has amassed more than 5,000, including the dress worn by Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz”– which he bought for $ 30 at an MGM sale several years ago — and the gown worn by Marilyn Monroe in “How to Marry a Millionaire.” His collection, which has been on exhibit in Russia, Yugoslavia and Europe, is estimated to be worth $ 8 million.

Bob Baker, who has operated a marionette theater in downtown Los Angeles since 1963, will offer a multimedia puppet show, which will focus on Hollywood history, in a 200-seat theater. The plan is to not only open the show to the public and to tourists, but to also bus in children from local schools.

In addition, the theater will be used for Equity waiver shows and museum lectures.

The announcement closes the chapter on P&G’s efforts to sell the building. Last summer, after the company had announced it was closing operations there and shuttering the building — the company used to sell makeup at the site — the move came under fire from community groups that wanted to preserve the historic site.

P&G officials, looking to reverse a potentially image-damaging event, turned to the city and the community for suggestions on what should be done with the building. That led to the creation of an ad-hoc committee, headed by local TV personality Huell Howser, which began examining several bids to buy the building.

“We’re very happy that Hollywood Heritage is involved in this effort because they are a well-respected group,” noted P&G exec Ed Rider.

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