It’s Official: ViacomCBS to Sell CBS Studio Center for $1.85B

Studio includes more than 1 million square feet, including 22 soundstages

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ViacomCBS today announced what could likely be the deal of the year for Los Angeles. 

The media conglomerate has agreed to sell CBS Studio Center to Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital Management for approximately $1.85 billion, confirming rumors from earlier in the month of an impending deal. It’s expected to close before the end of the year.

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The powerhouse venture of Hackman and Square Mile has been growing its film and studio footprint faster than any other firm the past 18 months amid record demand for such space. 

CBS Studio Center sits on a site of 55 acres, gross, in the Studio City neighborhood. It features more than 1 million square feet, including 22 soundstages, as well as production office and support buildings, third-party tenant offices, a purpose-built broadcast center and filmable backlot locations. 

CBS Broadcasting will enter into a long-term lease-back of the broadcast center, which is home to television stations CBS 2 and KCAL 9. ViacomCBS will continue to occupy stages and produce content on the lot, as well as enter into a short-term lease-back of certain portions of the property in order to manage the transition of ViacomCBS employees to other locations.

“This sale is part of an ongoing optimization of ViacomCBS’ real estate and operations portfolio and will allow the company to redeploy capital to strategic growth priorities, including streaming,” said Naveen Chopra, executive vice president and CFO at ViacomCBS.

Michael Hackman, founder and CEO of Hackman Capital Partners, said the studio has been a “hit maker” from the days of “Gunsmoke,” “Mary Tyler Moore” and “Seinfeld.”

“We’re thrilled to continue our ongoing relationship with ViacomCBS to service its many successful shows currently filmed on the lot,” Hackman said.

JLL’s Carl Muhlstein and Kevin MacKenzie are exclusive agents for ViacomCBS.

Studios emerged in the last two years as one of the fastest-growing real estate sectors, thanks to unrelenting demand from content creators like Netflix, Apple, Disney, Hulu and HBO, which are racing each other in the hard-fought streaming wars. From Burbank to Downtown, institutional firms have moved quickly on L.A. with new proposals for more soundstage development. But none have come close to matching the activity of Culver City-based Hackman Capital Partners and financial backer Square Mile.

Just this year, Hackman filed plans for a $1.3 billion redevelopment at the massive Television City; entered a new venture to take management control of the fully leased Raleigh Studios in Hollywood; and acquired Sony Pictures Animation Campus in its hometown of Culver City.

Gregory Cornfield can be reached at gcornfield@commercialobserver.com.