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CBS Television City expected to be sold to Los Angeles investor

CBS Television City expected to be sold to Los Angeles investor
The CBS Television City studio complex in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles. (Buyenlarge / Getty Images)

Broadcast giant CBS Corp. has identified Los Angeles real estate investment company Hackman Capital Partners as the buyer for its storied Television City production studios.

Hackman Capital has been selected by CBS as the winning bidder in a transaction that could be valued at more than $700 million, according to people familiar with the deal who were not authorized to comment about it publicly. The deal is not final, however.

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CBS is expected to continue to operate the 25-acre studio as a tenant for a period of time if Hackman Capital completes the deal. Network representatives declined to comment, and Hackman Capital did not respond to requests for a statement.

CBS' primary studio space, where about half a dozen shows are produced, is its lot on Radford Avenue in Studio City. In 2008, CBS moved its West Coast entertainment operations "over the hill" to the bulked-up CBS Studio Center, where CBS Entertainment, CBS Television Studios and other corporate offices of the New York company are situated.

CBS revealed in 2017 that it was pondering the sale of its historic studio complex in the Fairfax District as the Los Angeles construction boom propelled developers in search of new places to build housing, offices and retail properties such as shops and restaurants. Television City has acres of surface parking lots around the studio buildings that could be developed and served by underground parking or multilevel garages, if city officials approved.

Television City has played an important role in CBS history and American pop culture as home to many legendary TV shows. It is where entertainers such as Jack Benny, Judy Garland and the cast of "All in the Family" performed.

Walter Braunschweiger, left, president of the All-Year Club of Southern California, actress Lucille Ball and Charles Glett, a CBS vice president, at the construction site of the CBS Television City studios in 1952.
Walter Braunschweiger, left, president of the All-Year Club of Southern California, actress Lucille Ball and Charles Glett, a CBS vice president, at the construction site of the CBS Television City studios in 1952. (Los Angeles Times)

The broadcasting company decided in 1950 to relocate much of its entertainment operations to Los Angeles from New York. Its move west helped establish an enduring part of Los Angeles' identity and its television production economy.

CBS bought the property at Fairfax Avenue and Beverly Boulevard in 1950. The network needed more space — facilities that could accommodate live production and studio audiences — than its Columbia Square complex on Sunset Boulevard could provide. So it spent a reported $7 million to build the futuristic complex with its midcentury design by noted architect William Pereira.

Hackman Capital has emerged in recent years as one of the region’s most high-profile developers. It owns Culver Studios, a historic movie studio in Culver City, that Hackman is renovating and nearly doubling in size with the addition of new office and production space.

The company is also building Culver Steps, an office building near the studios that will be occupied by Amazon Studios. Amazon will also occupy 280,000 square feet in Culver Studios, including the 1920s mansion on Washington Boulevard that was modeled after George Washington's home on Mount Vernon.

In El Segundo, Hackman Capital is redeveloping four big industrial buildings near Los Angeles International Airport that it acquired from defense giant Northrop Grumman. The District, as the $100-million office development is called, includes 550,000 square feet of former factory space where airplanes were once made and acres of land for additional construction.

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