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Los Angeles Studio Real Estate Still Coming Back From Strike

Fox Corp.’s Matthew Michel, East End Studios’ Jonathon Yormak, Hackman Capital’s Zack Sokoloff, Blackstone’s Michelle Gelshteyn and Clark Construction’s Lena Dremonas.

The success of the studio real estate landscape is intertwined with that of the entertainment industry, but panelists at Bisnow’s Los Angeles Studio Real Estate Conference had different perspectives on how much that industry has bounced back from the slowdown of the writers and actors strikes. 

“When the strike happened, everyone felt it,” Fox Corp. Vice President of Real Estate Matthew Michel told the audience at the Zanuck Theatre on the Fox Studio Lot in Century City. “Now the stages are full. Everyone's back to work and everybody's happy.” 

The strikes are over and productions are happening once again, but the volume of work is still picking up steam. Fourth-quarter production levels in 2023, measured from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, were down 36.4% compared with 2022, according to FilmLA data reported by the Los Angeles Times. 

Rapt Studio’s Ben Kracke, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Wendy Takahashi, Amazon Studios’ John Eddey and Plannet’s June Bardwil.

Though industry analysts are anticipating spending on content to increase this year, spending is not expected to reach 2022 levels, according to The Hollywood Reporter. What that means for productions, the people who work on them and the way they all use studio space is still in flux, THR reported

“We all know what's happening right now across the U.S. It's a very slow market at the moment,” Amazon Studios Worldwide Production Real Estate Senior Manager John Eddey said. 

Eddey said he doesn't think soundstages are going anywhere and will continue to be necessary for the industry. There are studio real estate owners that are doing well right now, he said. Most likely, they are the owners with a diverse portfolio of space in a range of sizes — not just soundstages that cater to one type of client. 

“Those that are doing well are those that have the space that can cater to things outside of our industry during times like this,” such as hosting events or music video shoots. 

“Those are the things that will get you through times like this,” Eddey said. 

Panelists’ optimism about studio real estate has been backed up by recent investment. Fox Corp. is working on a $1.5B upgrade to the Century City studio lot that hosted the event, and Hackman Capital announced Thursday it would revise its $1B plan to redevelop the famed Fairfax studio lot Television City. East End Studios, whose founder and Managing Principal Jonathon Yormak was also a panelist, is in the process of building a nearly 400K SF studio campus in the Arts District.