For a long time now, Hollywood productions needed industrial space to operate in and to be considered a ‘player.” Most importantly, they needed a Hollywood address. However, over the past years, with the loss of industrial space in Hollywood, film production facilities have opted to lease or buy space beyond the limits of Hollywood. In fact, they are now popping up all over the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys in areas once considered ‘no go zones’ such as Sun Valley, Pacoima and Arleta. These bedroom communities of Los Angeles are now considered the next hub of television and movie production.
Historically, dating back to the early advent of the movie and TV industry, everything was located in Hollywood. As the need for more space became apparent, production facilities moved into North Hollywood and Burbank. Now, as these markets have been gentrified and grown up, that open space and those larger facilities have been pushed north, partly due to the rising costs of real estate.
Entertainment Facilities in the San Fernando Valley
Leading this trend for original streaming video content are three giants: Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu. In the film and TV business, content is king and having it readily available is important. However, with a lack of available studio space to fill this demand, the entertainment market has been driven further north than it ever thought it would ever be.
In the sphere of commercial real estate, we’re seeing parts of the east San Fernando Valley that were formerly no man’s land, now rising up as part of the hub of the industry. As the studios compete for precious space, it also brings associated production businesses which adds to the demand. This includes the set builders, the lighting guys, the costume people – all who are competing for space in the east San Fernando Valley.
Off-Market Deals are Possible with a Broker Who Knows the Players
The three deals I previously referenced: Line 204 Studios, Quixote Studios, and Santa Clarita Studios, were all deals that happened off market, prior to the land becoming readily known and available, and all were done without fancy marketing campaigns. By having an intimate knowledge of the east San Fernando Valley and knowing when and how properties will be coming available, I was able to put the wheels in motion that led to these deals.
Where Line 204 now stand was once a gravel pit that was originally zoned as “Open Space Agriculture” and required a four year entitlement process to get the approval.
For the Quixote Studio space, the lease was negotiated during the escrow period and was completed prior to the sale being consummated.
For Santa Clarita Studios, having prior experience with studios and also having a relationship with the developer was key in the agreement of lease terms without having to go to market. In all three circumstances, knowledge of the San Fernando and Santa Clarita industrial markets was integral to putting these transactions together.
As I’ve learned over the years of making deals of this size happen, each process requires at least three components: One needs to know the players, understand their requirements, and be able to set up realistic expectations for them. In today’s market, leases or sales in industrial real estate can take years to consummate – it’s never a short term process. But when it is completed, it’s an honor to be part of the team that has helped expand Hollywood’s creative boundaries into the San Fernando Valley where the industrial market still exists.