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Paradigm shifts into MCA digs

Exex makes move to leave 'room for growth'

There’s a Paradigm shift coming to the agency business.

With his billionaire brother Tom Gores, Paradigm prexy Sam Gores has partnered to pay $45 million to acquire the old MCA headquarters. Location will house both Sam Gores’ talent and literary tenpercentery and Tom Gores’ LBO firm Platinum Equity.

The 2½-acre campus had housed MCA from its inception in 1937 to 1964. Last owner was the scandal-plagued Global Crossing, whose topper Gary Winnick is expected to remain as a tenant for the next year, then depart. Paradigm’s Gores says he will move his tenpercentery over from its Century City location in June or July.

In an interview with Daily Variety, prexy Sam Gores said the reason for the move “is growth. It leaves a lot of room for growth,” he said.

Located at 360 N. Crescent, neo-Georgian building fronts both North Crescent Drive and little Santa Monica Boulevard and more than doubles the size of Paradigm’s quarters. At almost 25,000 square feet of space, the property’s south tower held roughly 430 employees at Global Crossing’s apex.

That leaves the north tower for Platinum and Paradigm with room to spare — with 100,000 square feet, it affords ample space for Platinum’s 150 employees and Paradigm’s 110 agents and staffers. More, it leave the door open for acquisitions, Paradigm’s Gores said.

Sam Gores admitted that the purchase had immense symbolic significance: What else could one make of acquiring the nest of a behemoth like MCA — the venerable agency split apart by a Justice Dept. consent decree for entering into production? It comes at a time when agencies are operating without a master franchise agreement with the Screen Actors Guild and unregulated artist management companies are getting into production and distribution.

“From their offices here a half-century ago, Jules Stein and Lew Wasserman built one of the most powerful entertainment organizations in the world,” said Sam Gores of MCA.

Both companies have access to liquid capital and talent. Only last November, Platinum committed $20 million to fully finance Paradigm client Andy Garcia’s feature directorial debut with indie pic “The Lost City,” a drama set in the waning golden days of Havana. It will star Garcia, Robert Duvall, Dustin Hoffman, Benicio Del Toro, Javier Bardem, Benjamin Bratt and Tomas Milian.

Tiffany tenpercentery

“I think in a year from now, we’ll certainly be bigger,” he said, “but we want to be the Tiffany of all agencies. I’m not sure you need another ‘big’ agency to compete with CAA or William Morris. It will be bigger not just in mass but in concentrated strength.”

Mark Barnhouse, a spokesman for Platinum, said that while no entertainment acquisitions were currently on the front burner at Platinum, “opportunities in entertainment is clearly one of the things we’re interested in.”

Company made its fortune in the software sector, acquiring and operating mission-critical tech businesses, and began considering real estate last year as the firm’s success and growth rate accelerated and stretched capacity in its Los Angeles offices. Founded in 1995, Platinum was ranked No. 44 on the most recent Forbes magazine list of 500 largest private companies. It currently has offices in Boston, London, Paris, New York and Los Angeles.

Previous building owner Winnick acquired the address for $41.5 million in 1998 as headquarters for Global Crossing and Pacific Capital.

It features white Corinthian porticoes topped with a decorative cupola, gabled roofs, antique iron gates and finely wrought sculpted moldings. The buildings are separated by a plaza courtyard graced with an antique Italian bronze and terra cotta fountain surrounded by a 30-foot high marble ionic colonnade — all designed by Paul Revere Williams, the first African-American Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

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