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Lion settles into new lair

Homevid to remain in Santa Monica space

A decade after its historic ankling from Culver City, MGM has moved again — this time to a sleek Century City office tower topped by a neon Leo the Lion.

MGM began occupying newly constructed MGM Tower in early May and has mostly vacated its previous base at MGM Plaza in Santa Monica, where homevid operations will remain indefinitely.

The Lion won’t be throwing a grand opening party at its new lair until fall, but visitors to the building report a few touches befitting a company whose owner also owns casinos. Along with the customary taupe conference rooms and tasteful cubicles, there are Bellagio-like arches spanning hallways and screening rooms with deco-style brown leather chairs.

The entry along Constellation Boulevard is pure 21st century, however. Flat-screen TVs play MGM film product to those slipping past the futuristic, slanted metal beams.

The studio occupies 350,000 square feet on 15 floors of the 35-floor structure, the first new high rise in Century City in a dozen years. The site, like much of Century City, was once part of the Fox back lot. It was developed for its new use by JMB Realty of Chicago.

The combined effect is a stark departure from MGM’s history-steeped lot in Culver City that is now occupied by Sony.

But MGM vice chairman Chris McGurk says Century City provides a location more central to the BevHills-based tenpercentery biz. And the specially designed space, he insists, have heightened morale along with operating efficiency.

“It has helped energize us,” vice chairman Chris McGurk. “It’s great to see the logo up there … right in the heart of the entertainment industry.”