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Movie Lot Mogul

Los Angeles

You may think of Hudson Pacific Properties president Howard Stern as a corporate real estate guy, but you'd get a different impression in his office at Sunset Gower Studios (the former Columbia Pictures before it went to Culver City). Our publisher paid a visit last week.


We had to coax Howard to get into character underneath, (we think) a young Orson Welles. Hudson picked up the lot with 570k SF of office and stages back in '07, and also owns the 115k SF Technicolor building on the premises. ABC's Scandal and HBO's The Newsroom are filmed there, as was Showtime's Dexter when it was in production. Hudson also owns the 314k SF Sunset Bronson Studios a couple blocks away; that was Warner Brothers before it moved to Burbank. Hudson has entitled 405k new feet there, including a 13-story building to break ground in '14. Nearby, Kilroy is improving Columbia Square, which Hudson hopes will add to the Hollywood buzz.


We're not in Brentwood, folks. As landlord, Hudson gets roughly 35% of its studio revenue from renting such services as stage lighting and grip, power, telecom, HVAC, etc. They provide space not just to production companies but to people who like the vibe of a lot, from casting agents to—yep—Tinseltown therapists. Howard now finds himself hanging with show runners and line producers since location decisions, just like in other industries, often come from relationships.


Here's Howard back at the grind. Hudson's 6.2M SF portfolio is 95% leased, of which 2.4M is in San Fran and 850k in Seattle. Of course, they're active in West LA (where Howard has another office). They aim to be known as the go-to landlord for creative space in the tech/media/entertainment sector. In the City by the Bay near Twitter, they've provided 332k SF for Square and 88k for Uber, and in SoMa they have a futuristic building for Github (where Bisnow is holding an event tomorrow); and in LA, they recently leased their entire 12-acre Element LA campus at Olympic and Bundy to Riot Games. They want to do lots more of the same in 2014. The other thing on Howard's agenda? How to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary in February. One cheap possibility: re-enact his and Lisa's original blind date at Marina Del Rey's Cheesecake Factory.