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Marvel to relocate closer to Disney

Studio moving from Manhattan Beach to Glendale

Marvel Studios is moving closer to the Mouse House.

After setting up shop at the Manhattan Beach Studios Media Campus, formerly known as Raleigh Manhattan Beach Studios, in 2008, Marvel is getting ready to pack up and settle into new office space in Glendale, just minutes from the Walt Disney Studios.

The move, expected to be completed by spring 2013, will relocate Marvel’s film team closer to the Burbank-based Disney lot but also around some of the comicbook company’s other divisions. Marvel Animation Studios is already based in Glendale and has begun to add headcount as it starts production on several new TV series. For the past four years, Marvel has been the largest tenant at Raleigh’s facility in Manhattan Beach, housing its executive and production offices there after having previously been based in Beverly Hills. As many as 150 staffers will be affected by the move from 1600 Rosecrans Ave.

The new building has yet to be revealed.

Marvel Studios made the deal with Raleigh as it was readying to lense parts of “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “The Avengers” there. The pics also shot in New Mexico and Cleveland. Raleigh’s Manhattan Beach facility houses 15 soundstages, a screening room, New York street, offices and post-production space.

Deal was made at the time to keep Marvel’s film productions in California and take advantage “of the best crews in the Los Angeles area,” according to Louis D’Esposito, Marvel’s president of physical production, now co-president.

Since then, however, Marvel has moved many productions to locations that offer more attractive tax rebates like North Carolina, where much of “Iron Man 3” is currently being shot. The “Thor” sequel is shooting in and around London.

But the Raleigh pact also was set up before Marvel Studios merged its film division with Disney. Paramount distribbed the company’s self-financed tentpoles at the time.

Raleigh won’t be hurt by Marvel’s departure, however.

James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment already has inked a five-year deal with the company to produce the next two sequels to “Avatar” there, employing more than 200 people. That deal calls for Lightstorm to lease more than 115,000 square feet of soundstage and production office space at the campus. The first “Avatar” was produced in Playa Vista, Calif., and New Zealand.

(Justin Kroll contributed to this report.)

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