Watt Investment Partners, the commercial acquisition arm of Santa Monica-based Watt Companies, just purchased Centinela Studios, a 60k sf production facility in Santa Monica, for $18.65 mil ($311/sf). The property, located at 3401 Exposition Blvd, north of Santa Monica Airport between Olympic Blvd and the 10 Fwy, was sold by Venice-based Perloff-Webster Co. Watt has enlisted Industry Partners to lease the space and plans to begin immediately on a series of property improvements. Patric Ayau of Lee & Associates represented the seller in the sale.
Located on 1.65 acres, the property was initially built in 1961 as the headquarters and manufacturing facility for the American Shower Door Company, which owned and operated the building for more than 20 years. The site includes a warehouse, which has been used as a sound stage for television and motion picture productions including “7th Heaven,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and “The Doors,” as well as a 4k sf single-story office building.
“There’s a lot of history in this building,” said Ayau, noting that the building is 100 percent occupied and is near the 10 Freeway and a future Metro Rail stop. “Not only was it the former home to American Shower Door, but its history included Spelling Entertainment, producer of popular TV shows like Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place, as one of its tenants and who used it for production. The filming of the popular television series House was also done there.
According to Ayau, the owner plans to redevelop the building into creative offices. Boto Design Architects, a Santa Monica-based architectural firm that specializes in adaptive re-use of industrial buildings to creative office, commercial and post-production projects, is the firm that will design the space for Watt.
The work, scheduled to begin in the 4th quarter of 2012, will consist of a series of upgrades to the core and shell of the existing structure, including all new exterior windows, Epi wood siding and new skylights to bring in more natural light. Renovations will also include new power and HVAC systems, along with new outdoor space for future tenants.
“There are no 30k sf – 60k sf stand-alone creative buildings available in Santa Monica today,” said Industry Partners Principal Andrew Jennison, who will oversee the leasing for the new Watt project. “Watt is committed to making a significant capital investment into this project on a speculative basis so that the building appeals to a wide variety of creative tenants.”
According to Industry Partners’ Westside Creative Office Market Report, creative users with requirements greater than 25k sf have a hard time finding it in Santa Monica, which currently boasts a vacancy rate of less than five percent for this product type.
*Shared By Ted Simpson, Scott Steuber & Jeff Vertun