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  • Jason Tuvia

HBO Relocation Near Apple & Amazon, Spurring Apartment Demand

Updated: Apr 6, 2019

Cable Channel Lease Marks Resurgence of City as Entertainment Center

Premium cable channel HBO plans to relocate its headquarters to a sprawling development known as Ivy Station under construction in Culver City, California, marking a resurgence of the city's key role as part of the nation's entertainment capital. The move puts HBO just steps from the competing entertainment divisions of tech companies Amazon and Apple as well as the Sony Pictures studio lot as companies pour into the online entertainment industry of greater Los Angeles.

The company, which has produced shows such as "Game of Thrones" and "The Sopranos," signed a 15-year lease for all 240,000 square feet of office space in the larger $350 million development on about five acres on Venice Boulevard next to the Metro Expo Line from developer Lowe and partners. HBO plans to relocate its corporate offices from roughly 128,000 square feet at Boston Properties' Colorado Center office complex in nearby Santa Monica, where it has been since 2004.

“Culver City was already on the map before HBO made this commitment, and this lease further solidified Culver City as one of the most progressive entertainment addresses for employment in Los Angeles with Amazon Studios and Apple in tow,” Nico Vilgiate, an executive vice president at Colliers International who was not involved in the deal, said in an email.

The city of Culver City was a leading entertainment hub in the Greater Los Angeles area early last century, hosting production firms such as MGM Studios and the filming of classics such as "Gone With the Wind." The industry has scattered throughout the Los Angeles region in the past few decades into areas such as Burbank, Hollywood and nearby Santa Monica, but Culver City officials have been diligently working to bring it back, and the HBO deal is one result.

HBO had previously planned to lease a 128,000-square-foot office across the street in Culver City at 8777 Washington Blvd. that is under construction by developer Lincoln Property Co. and Clarion Partners. But when parent company AT&T and Time Warner began serious negotiations about their merger, HBO put its relocation plans on hold . Apple then leased up that space for its entertainment division.

In addition to the Washington Boulevard lease, iPhone maker Apple also has a major presence in Culver City including its music division taking up 85,000 square feet at Hackman Capital Partners' 5500 West Jefferson Blvd. project. Online retailer Amazon expanded too in the city last year, signing leases for a total of 530,000 square feet at Culver Studios, which is being redeveloped by owner and developer Hackman Capital.

The HBO deal is significant for the Ivy Station development as well.

The 500,000-square-foot Ivy Station campus is designed to include 200 apartments, 50,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space on the ground floor, a 148-room boutique hotel, two acres of publicly accessible outdoor space and 1,500 below-grade parking spaces, 300 of which will be dedicated for use by Metro transit riders.

“HBO is an ideal business anchor for Ivy Station, bringing to the property creative professionals that will enjoy access to public transit, host out of town guests at the hotel, and frequent the shops and restaurants that will populate the ground floor town square-style retail space,” Tom Wulf, executive vice president at real estate investment and development firm Lowe, said in a statement.

Ivy Station’s large landscaped outdoor area is expected to be programmed with a host of activities such as movie nights, art shows and concerts to appeal to Ivy Station residents and businesses, commuters, and neighbors.The office building was designed by local architecture firm Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects to have large, flexible floor plates and offer natural light and operable windows as well as outdoor balconies.

Architecture firm Killefer Flammang Architects is designing the hotel and apartments at Ivy Station.

Ivy Station is being developed by Lowe, AECOM-Canyon Partners, a joint venture between AECOM’s investment firm AECOM Capital, the investment arm of global infrastructure firm AECOM, and global asset management firm Canyon Partners, LLC, as well as real estate investment firm Rockwood Capital.

Ivy Station’s groundbreaking was held in September 2017. It is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.

HBO is scheduled to move into the office building in early 2021.

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