The studio where the Atlanta fire scene in Gone With The Wind, Citizen Kane and X-Men: First Class were made has new owners today after a long sale process. While Culver Studios declined to comment on the change of ownership or the future of the production property, sources tell me that the 13 soundstages will be shuttered for good over the next 18 months to two years after existing productions wrap. ABC’s Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., CBS’ Extant and other productions now in residence there will see their current agreements and leases honored, I’m hearing. Speculation is that the 14-acre lot at 9336 W. Washington Blvd will be turned into either office space or condos after that.
We’re also hearing there have been layoffs already involving studio employees.
The studio was built in 1918 by silent movie producer Thomas Ince and through the years was owned by Cecil B DeMille and RKO Pictures (at one point that studio was owned by Howard Hughes), Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball’s Desilu Productions, and Grant Tinker and Gannett, who renovated the property in 1986. Sony acquired it in 1991 and sold it to Studio City Los Angeles in 2004. The facility currently offers production and executive office space, conference rooms, a commissary and a fitness center. Stay tuned on this one.
Culver Studios — site of the iconic mansion seen at the beginning of “Gone With the Wind” and other Selznick Studios films — has been sold for an estimated $85 million.
Los Angeles-based Hackman Capital Partners, an industrial real estate investment firm headquartered in Los Angeles, bought the studio from Lehman Brothers, which filed for bankruptcy six years ago.
Company topper Michael Hackman denied recent reports that the property would be converted to condos and promised that his firm will upgrade the facilities — some of which date back 90 years — and add more parking.
“We want to make this the best independent studio in the world and we’re going to keep the mansion and front lawn area,” he added. “Southern California has the best infrastructure and talent pool in the world. We think we can help maintain its dominant position.”
The lot includes more than 350,000 square feet of space and is the current home to TBS’ “Cougar Town” and ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Hackman owns approximately 25 million square feet in the U.S.
The mansion achieved its iconic status in the “Gone With the Wind” credits as the backdrop for the logo of the David O. Selznick Studios. The storied lot, built in 1918, has been home to Cecil B. DeMille, RKO, Howard Hughes, Desilu, Grant Tinker and Sony, which bought the lot in 1991 and sold it in 2004 to private investors PCCP Studio City while continuing to lease space at Culver.
Sony employees (mostly in TV) moved to the nearby Sony lot five years ago.