Culver Studios Sale to Give Sony Animation New Digs

Studio City Los Angeles has acquired legendary film production center Culver Studios from Sony Pictures Ent. As part of the $125 million deal, Studio City has committed to construct a 30,000-square-foot extension of the Culver Studios Office Building, which will provide quarters for Sony Pictures Animation and visual effects arm Imageworks.

Culver Studios, the birthplace of such enduring cinematic classics as Gone with the Wind and Citizen Kane, was once home to Cecil B. DeMille, Howard Hughes and Lucille Ball’s Desilu Prods. The property encompasses approximately 450,000 square feet containing 14 sound stages, the DeMille screening room and the commissary and the adjacent Culver Studios Office Building. Studio City Los Angeles plans to revitalize the lot by attracting more productions.

Ron Lynch will assume the role of president of Culver Studios, overseeing day-to-day management. During his 20-year career in the entertainment business, he has supervised Orion Pictures’ television productions and served as exec VP of production at Sony’s Tristar Pictures, exec VP of production at Orion Pictures, sr. VP of production at Walt Disney Pictures and exec VP at Universal Pictures.

Studio City Los Angeles is a partnership created by global investment bank Lehman Brothers, El Segundo-based real estate investment firm Pacific Coast Capitol Partners and Los Angeles-based entertainment production firm Pacifica Ventures. Pacific Ventures and Lehman Brothers are also partners in Studio City New York, a new studio complex being developed in Manhattan.

Among the projects in development at Culver Studios is a live-action adaptation of the Bill Cosby cartoon Fat Albert.